Issue details

Decision to support families with children entitled to free school meals by providing a food vouchers during the Christmas Holiday period

The free school meal system is an important component of the support that is provided to low-income families. Providing vouchers in the school holidays for children entitled to free school meals is an extension to this support and will benefit over 4,700 children. Through this proposal, primary and secondary aged school pupils who are eligible for benefits related free school meals will receive a food voucher of £20 per week throughout the Christmas Holiday period.

Consumer prices, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), were 8.6% higher in August 2022 than a year before. The CPI is also forecast to remain above 8.6% for the remainder of 2022 into 2023, peaking at 14% in Quarter 4 2022. Low-income households spend a larger proportion than average on energy and food so will be more affected by price increases.

Herefordshire Council has received an allocation of £1,329,601.78 from the Department of Works and Pensions under the next phase of the Household Support Fund which was confirmed on 1st October 2022.The expectation is that the funding should be used primarily to support households in the most need, particularly those including children and pensioners who would otherwise struggle with energy, food and water bills as well as other essential costs. This is part of wider offer that is being developed as part of the allocation of the Household Support Fund.

By utilising the funding from government, this will have a positive impact on low income families and child poverty by minimising the debt burden on those that struggle to pay essential bills.

Decision type: Non-key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 17/11/2022

Decision due: 15 November 2022 by Director of Resources and Assurance

Contact: Andrew Lovegrove, Director of Resources and Assurance Email: