Andrew Smith MP backs calls for a free school meals for every child whose family is on low income.
This comes as shocking new statistics by The Children’s Society say that more than 2900 children in poverty in Oxford East are missing out on one.
This represents 53% of all such children in Oxford East who are not getting a free school meal, according to the charity.
Andrew said: “The number of children living in local families on low incomes – many of them with parents in work - who are not getting a free school meal is disgraceful.
“Making sure every child can get a decent meal in the middle of their school day is a basic essential. At a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet, it's never been so important to do everything we can to ensure that every child can get a decent meal.
“This is why I am supporting this important campaign to change the situation locally and across the country.”
For some children, a free school lunch may be the only hot, nutritious meal they get. Across the country, for a third of children whose parents were surveyed, lunch was their main meal of the day.
The Children’s Society Chief Executive Matthew Reed says: “We know from the families we work with up and down the country that parents are struggling to make ends meet. Right now, the government is reconsidering which children will be entitled to get free school meals. We urge the government to take this opportunity to make sure all children in poverty can get a free school meal.”
Six in ten children living in poverty are now in low-income working families, however many are unable to get free school meals simply because their parents are working – no matter how little they earn.
Across the country every day, more than half of the 2.2 million school children living in poverty in England miss out on a free school meal. Of these, 700,000 are not even entitled to one – often because their parents work, regardless of how little they earn.
Free school meals already lift 140,000 children out of poverty nationwide. If the government expanded entitlement to free school meals to include families on low incomes, a further 100,000 children would be lifted out of poverty.