Motion from Councillor Lucy Nethsingha on supporting children from families on Free School Meals entitlement or Universal Credit.
Motion from Councillor Lucy Nethsingha
This council notes:
- The increase in the number of children eligible for Free School Meals, and the increase in the number of families on Universal Credit in Cambridgeshire following the pandemic. With the number of children receiving Free Schools Meals increasing from 12,870 eligible pupils in March 2020 to 16,498 eligible pupils in May 2021
- That in order to be eligible for Free School Meals a family must have a net annual income of no more than £7,400, if in receipt of Universal Credit or have a gross annual income of £16,190, if in receipt of Child Tax Credits (and not be eligible for Working Tax Credits) and that this reflects a very low income, and one likely to have a major impact on the ability of such children to access activities available to most of their peer group.
- The severe impact of poverty on educational outcomes and subsequent life chances for children as demonstrated by numerous studies.
- The pressures which are mounting on family incomes through an increase in National Insurance, and rises in the cost of living, with the costs of petrol, diesel and gas all rising fast and a likely knock on increase in the costs of other goods as a result.
Taking into account the circumstances above this council resolves to:
- Work with partners to set up a funding scheme to support children and young people whose families are on Universal Credit or free school meals to have reduced cost access to out of school activities, in order to support them to reach their educational and personal potential.
- Write to the Secretary of State for Education and Secretary of State for Works and Pensions to express this council’s grave concern at the impact that the cut of £20 a week to Universal Credit will have on many families in Cambridgeshire, and the potential impact of such a reduction on the lives of a large number of children and young people.