The Government has today done a U-turn and decided it WILL now fund free school meal vouchers for this half-term week after increasing pressure from councils such as Knowsley.
The Government had previously said that it would only fund free school meals for children who are means tested during term-time.
Knowsley Council is working with school administrators to ensure that vouchers, covering the period from 25 to 29 May 2020, will be made available from tomorrow afternoon (Thursday, 28 May) for eligible Knowsley children.
Cllr Jayne Aston, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “Knowsley, like other local authorities, was told by central Government that we need to do ‘whatever it takes’ to support our communities during the pandemic and they said that they would provide all the financial support we needed.
“This included the provision of free school meals throughout the pandemic.
“The Leader of Knowsley Council and our local MPs have been lobbying central Government to do the right thing. They have called on the Government to give us the funding we need to cover the additional costs of supporting our communities during the pandemic and to deliver on their promise to do ‘whatever it takes’.
“I’m pleased that we didn’t just give in when they said “no” and it was obviously worth standing our ground on this particular issue. The Government has listened and taken some action by agreeing to fund free school meals during the school half-term break. We are in a position to act quickly and issue the vouchers tomorrow which will be backdated to cover the whole week.”