Councils confirm details of free school meal payments
Twm Owen, local democracy reporter
Details of a cash payment to hard-up families to help them deal with the withdrawal of free school meals over the summer holidays has been announced.
Torfaen Borough Council said it intended to make a one-off payment of £50 to families who are entitled to free school meals based on having a low household income.
The council has now confirmed those payments will be made from next week and has said: “Torfaen’s Cost of Living Summer Holiday Payment will be made into your bank account and there is no need to apply.”
The cash is only being paid to families who qualify for free school meals due to their income, which are those entitled to certain benefits or with an income of less than £7,400 a year above the Universal Credit threshold.
There is no additional support for those primary school pupils who only receive universal free school meals.
In neighbouring Blaenau Gwent the council has said it will make a direct payment of £19.50 per week, per child over the summer holidays to families entitled to free school meals, based on eligibility, while eligible familes in Caerphilly borough will get £117 per child during the school holiday period.
Torfaen council has said it agreed to make the payments after the Welsh Government ended the free school meal payments it had been making over the holidays since the first year of the Covid pandemic. It has been reported the decision to end the scheme is subject to a legal challenge supported by a charity.
Torfaen has also confirmed its payments, which are expected to benefit nearly 4,300 children in the borough, is limited to this summer and won’t be repeated for further school holidays.
The council’s Labour leader Anthony Hunt said: “School holiday payments have ended, but we understand there are still families locally struggling with the cost of living.”
The payments are in addition to the Food and Fun scheme provided by Torfaen council’s play service, which will also provide food at various venues during the school holidays.
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