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Children: Food

Question for Department for Education

UIN 86170, tabled on 7 September 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will discuss with the Chancellor of the Exchequer the potential merits of extending the COVID Summer Food Fund for school holidays in the 2020-21 academic year.

Answered on

15 September 2020

The government has taken unprecedented and substantial action to ensure that children do not go hungry as we take measures to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, including in relation to free school meals.

In the first instance, we asked schools to support eligible pupils by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. For circumstances where this was not possible, we also established a national voucher scheme. In addition, the COVID-19 Summer Food Fund supported eligible families during the summer holidays.

This summer, our £9 million Holiday Activities and Food Programme also worked across 17 local authorities, providing thousands of children with access to healthy meals and enriching activities and building on the success of the 2018 and 2019 programmes. We are currently assessing the scheme to ascertain the best way to provide children with activities as well as food during the holiday period. Our 2020 programme will help to show how free provision can be coordinated in different local areas and it will provide valuable information about what works in supporting this sector in future.

From 2021, the government has a manifesto commitment to invest up to £1 billion to help create more high-quality wraparound and holiday childcare places. We will announce further details on this new investment in due course.