Plaid takes proactive steps to address child poverty
Written by Gavin on 21st January 2021
Rhondda Cynon Taf council has called on Welsh Government to extend Free School Meals to all children who live in poverty in Wales following a Plaid Cymru motion which was supported by Labour and Independent Councillors in RCT. It is seen as a positive, practical, and progressive step towards improving the experience of children in RCT and Wales.
Whilst 30% of children in Wales live in poverty only 13% are entitled to free school meals at present. This is mainly because the remaining 17% of children live in low paid households that takes them just over the present eligibility criteria.
RCT council is also calling for this extension of eligibility to be a step towards rolling out universal Free School Meals to all primary children in Wales. A call that has been made by various groups in Wales, including Child Poverty Action Group and the People’s Assembly.
Councillor Pauline Jarman, Leader of the Plaid Cymru group said
“It is very pleasing to know we have the support of almost all RCT councillors on this issue. Plaid Cymru have already stated that when in government we will commit to the principal of free school meals for all. It is a basic responsibility of government to ensure that no child feels hungry in school or going to bed. The first step is to raise the eligibility threshold so that children in every household in receipt of Universal Credit receives free school meals”.
Councillor Heledd Fychan said “I’m proud that we have been able to bring forward this motion and secure the support of the Council. It is an important step in securing equity for children in Wales with children in England and Scotland, where there is already universal free school meal provision for children in the reception class as well as years 1 and 2
Ultimately, we wish to see universal free school meals for all children in Wales as evidence from countries where this is already policy, such as Sweden and Finland, shows that this helps tackle poverty plus improves health and attainment. All our children deserve the best possible start in life.