Thousands of St Helens pupils facing free school meals axe

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Thousands of school children in St Helens will have their eligibility for free school meals withdrawn if controversial Government proposals go ahead.

St Helens South MP Marie Rimmer says the plan to introduce an earning threshold of £7,400 to determine eligibility would affect 3,347 children in St Helens, according to research complied by the Children’s Society.

Currently families with an income below £16,190 are entitled to free school meals, saving them around £400 a year per child.

Up to now, the Government has allowed all claimants on Universal Credit to receive free school meals.

Introducing this proposed earnings threshold represents a huge step backwards from this position, said Ms Rimmer.

The Children’s Society have estimated that this would lead to over one million children in poverty missing out on free school meals.

Ms Rimmer added: “Poverty is not inevitable, it’s a consequence of Tory choices and will see 24,000 school children across Merseyside have free school meals snatched from their hungry mouths. This Government is time and again attacking hard working families whilst taking care of the biggest companies and richest families with over £20bn of tax cuts.”