FREE schools meals are failing to reach those who need them most – this is according to findings from Welsh Government’s Child Poverty Review, seen by Plaid Cymru.
Information obtained by Plaid Cymru reveals that the review found that “some households in Wales who don’t qualify for free school meals are still struggling to feed their families.”
The most common suggestion from respondents to the review was “the need to expand eligibility for free school meals to a wider range of children and young people.”
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said that “in making other policy choices a priority, the Labour Welsh Government has effectively put a price on eradicating child poverty.”
Figures from the Child Poverty Action Group show that over 70,000 children living below the UK poverty line in Wales are not currently eligible for free school meals. Plaid Cymru has long made the case that eligibility should be extended to all children from homes in receipt of Universal Credit.
After challenging the First Minister on the issue, Leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price MS said:
“It is not only Plaid Cymru making the case for extending the eligibility criteria for free school meals, it is the Welsh Government’s own Child Poverty Review.
“In making other policy choices a priority, the Labour Welsh Government has effectively put a price on eradicating child poverty.
“The Child Poverty Action Group has found that Wales has the least generous provision for free school meals across the whole of the UK. Plaid Cymru has repeatedly made the case for extending Free School Meals to any child in any family receiving universal credit or equivalent benefit. Now the results of Welsh Government’s own review into Child Poverty have come to the same conclusion.
“Any compassionate government should be ensuring that no child goes to school hungry or to bed cold, yet over 70,000 children living below the UK poverty line in Wales are not currently eligible for free school meals. To right this wrong, a Plaid Cymru Government will make sure that none of these children go hungry. My question is, why won’t the current Welsh Government do the same?”