Free School Meals:Written question - HL15975

Asked on: 04 June 2019
Department for Education
Free School Meals
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many students receiving free school meals (1) are children of working parents, and (2) have also received food parcels from a food bank in the previous 12 months.
A
Answered by: Lord Agnew of Oulton
Answered on: 18 June 2019

The information requested is not held centrally.

To be eligible to receive free school meals (FSM), a pupil or their parent must be in receipt of any one of the following listed benefits and must make a claim to the school for FSM:

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).

We do not collect or hold data on the benefit which has qualified a pupil for FSM, therefore we are unable to identify those in receipt that may be in working households. We also do not collect any data on the number of pupils who may have received a food parcel from a food bank.

The government believes there is a need for more robust statistics in order to better understand the trend in food insecurity. Building a better understanding of household food needs will help ensure we’re targeting support to those who need it most. This is why we have worked with food insecurity experts, the Office for National Statistics, and the Scottish Government to introduce a new set of food security questions in the Family Resources Survey from April 2019.

This means that from spring 2021, we will be able to monitor the prevalence and severity of household food insecurity at a national level, and for specific groups to better understand the drivers of food insecurity and identify which groups are most at risk.

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