Extra cash for free school meals during holidays

The cash will be used to fund free school meals over Christmas, the February break and Easter.

An extra £10m funding will be made available to schools and local authorities to support free meals.

The additional cash plan was announced by social security secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville at the coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

The scheme will be used to fund free school meals over Christmas, the February break and Easter, with reimbursements available for local authorities who provided provision over the October holiday.

Ms Somerville said: “Whilst the pandemic remains first and foremost a public health emergency, we know that it is causing increasing financial pressure for many people. 

“Some will have seen a sharp drop in income due to being put on furlough, having their work hours reduced or being made redundant. 

“Others may be simply finding that their money is no longer going as far as it used to. 

“Moving into the winter period, with the colder weather, support is being reduced to the job support scheme and the impact of continuing restrictions to control the spread of coronavirus, and the potential disruption of a no deal Brexit from the EU, we know that some people may be worried about how to pay for essentials, like food or fuel. 

“That’s why I’m announcing funding will be made available to local authorities to support people on low incomes. 

“This important investment will support around 156,000 children and young people, helping families meet the cost of meals over the school holidays.

“It will be for local authorities to decide how this support is delivered, however we continue to advocate for a cash-first approach where appropriate, giving families the choice of what food they buy and where they buy it.”

A further £28m will be handed to local authorities to deal with “financial insecurity” with councils able to decide how they spend the increase.