Work and Pensions Committee

School holiday poverty inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Scope of the inquiry

Both Committees are aware that school holidays can place additional burdens on families. Low-income parents are at particular risk of experiencing financial difficulties during the holidays, because of extra childcare costs and the absence of free school meals for their children.
Save the Children and other organisations have raised concerns about the impact that school holidays can have on families on a low income. The APPG on Hunger's Hungry Holidays 2017 report cited research estimating that the loss of free school meals adds between £30 and £40 per week to parents' outgoings during school holidays. The report also estimated that up to 3 million children are at risk of going hungry in the school holidays—1 million children who receive free school meals during term time, and another 2 million children who are ineligible for free school meals but are growing up in households in in-work poverty.
Childcare provision and costs can also be a problem for families during school holidays, so the Committees will also look at how well the Government's 30 hours free childcare offer for 3 and 4 year-olds is working for parents in practice.

The Work and Pensions Committee's recent work on Universal Credit and childcare revealed the difficulties that parents on Universal Credit face with childcare costs, which may be exacerbated during the school holidays.

Latest evidence

  • 04 Sep 2019 - Work and Pensions Committee - oral evidence | PDF version (PDF272 KB) HC 84 | Published 30 Oct 2019

    Evidence given by Stephanie Ellis, Manager, Welcome Network, Jan Lefley, Community Manager, Romsey Community School, Dr Caroline Wolhuter, Head of Innovation and Impact, Accord Group, and Ian Stevenson, Service Manager, Neighbourhood Management, Gateshead Council; Lord Agnew, Minister for the School System, Sarah Lewis, Director, System Leadership and Strategy (Early Years and Schools), Department for Education, Will Quince MP, Minister for Welfare Delivery, and Donna Ward, Policy Director, Department for Work and Pensions (at 10.15am).

    Watch this evidence session


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