Government Re-Starts Meal Vouchers For Kids ..

Government U-Turn on school lunches for kids, now offers a voucher option, after embarrassing social media bashing highlights inadequate food parcel deliveries..

After the embarrassing images shown on social media over the last few days, in regards to the food parcels sent to parents to help keep their children nourished during this latest lockdown, and the fury and backlash directed towards the government, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that parents will be able to use the Free Schools Meals voucher scheme again from Monday 18th January and shop for their kids' lunches themselves.

After the PM told MPs: "It is a scandal and a disgrace that some companies are trying to get away with the provision they are offering.", parents will be now able to get £15-worth of vouchers to use at supermarkets instead of continuing to use the food parcels system that Mr Johnson has vowed to improve upon.

If a parent wishes to use the vouchers, and frankly who can blame them, they need to get in contact with their child's school, who will issue the vouchers, on the governments behalf.

Your child may be able to get free school meals if you get any of the following:

  • Income Support

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

  • the guaranteed element of Pension Credit

  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)

  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit

  • Universal Credit - if you apply on or after 1 April 2018 your household income must be less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including any benefits you get)

Children who get paid these benefits directly, instead of through a parent or guardian, can also get free school meals.

Your child may also get free school meals if you get any of these benefits and your child is both:

  • younger than the compulsory age for starting school

  • in full-time education

The schools are issuing up to £15 per eligible pupil, per week, where vouchers for local shops or supermarkets are being provided. The school's have the option to issue the vouchers in the following ways, depending on what method works best for the school:

  • Supply a single voucher to cover multiple weeks, for example, a £30 voucher to cover one eligible child over 2 weeks

  • Supply a single voucher to cover more than one eligible child within the same household, for example, £60 to support 2 eligible children over 2 weeks

  • Supply a weekly £15 rolling voucher, up to the week commencing 8 February

The vouchers will be issued via a gift card/e-code, which the parent can then use online, or directly within the supermarket. The schools will either:

  • Send an eCode directly to the parent or carers of the pupils(s) eligible for free school meals - they will need to choose an eGift card from a range of supermarkets

  • Select an eGift card on the parent or carer’s behalf, and print and post the eGift card to them

  • Select an eGift card on the parent or carer’s behalf, print the eGift card and arrange for families to collect it or deliver it to them in person

Once families have received their voucher, they will be able to redeem them in store at the selected retailer by either:

  • Presenting the voucher on a smartphone or tablet

  • Presenting a paper copy of the voucher

The vouchers are currently being accepted by the following supermarkets:

  • Aldi

  • Iceland

  • McColl’s

  • Morrisons

  • Tesco

  • Sainsbury’s

  • Asda

  • Waitrose

  • M&S

  • Company Shop Group

The vouchers can be used on any food purchase, and can of course be combined with buying yellow sticker products, to further stretch your budget...

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