Herefordshire Council will continue to provide its fantastic support for local school children by providing more than 4,500 children with a £20 food voucher this February half term.

The news will be a welcome relief to many parents with the cost of living crisis continuing to cause many problem for families, with higher food bills and energy costs. 

The decision taken by Herefordshire Council last week said:

To provide a food voucher of £20 per child eligible for free school meals for the February half-term, at a total cost estimated to be £93,000.

Reasons for decision:

“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 4,505 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 for the week of the February half-term.

“Consumer prices, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), were 16.40% higher in November 2022 than a year before. The CPI is also forecast to remain above 8.6% for the remainder of 2022 into 2023. 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 Household Support Fund. 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.

“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.”