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Free School Meals report welcomed by Cynon Valley MP

Written by on 19th May 2021

Cynon Valley MP Beth Winter has welcomed the Policy in Practice report on expanding the provision of Free School Meals (FSM) in Wales commissioned by the Bevan Foundation and the Wales Anti-Poverty Coalition. The report concludes that extending FSM provision to children of all households receiving Universal Credit would increase the total cost by £10.5 million pounds.

Extending FSM to all households regardless of income or benefit eligibility would lead to an increase of £140.7 million on current costs.

While the report focuses the financial cost to Welsh Government, it also highlights a wide range of benefits achieved through the extension of FSM. It concludes that additional investment in Free School Meal provision by the Welsh Government would yield a significant return both to individual families and wider society.

Beth Winter said, “I very much welcome this report into the costs and benefits of extending free school meal provision in Wales. We currently have the most restrictive access to Free School Meals in the UK and we need to consider all options to tackle the scourge of food insecurity for our children.”

“Child poverty is rising across Wales and in my own constituency of Cynon Valley the ‘End Child Poverty’ campaign confirms today that 34% of children are living in poverty.”

“I repeat my call to this new Senedd and Welsh Government to support extending the provision of free school meals so that no child in Wales goes hungry. We should work towards a position where all children have a guaranteed hot meal every school day and that no child feels embarrassed or ashamed to accept a free school meal.”