Government promises winter grants

Government promises winter grants

Government promises winter grants and extension of winter hunger scheme

The Government has pledged funding to facilitate free activities and food during the Christmas and Easter holidays, in addition to the existing summer holidays scheme.

Following a campaign by footballer, Marcus Rashford, the Department for Work and Pensions has announced that it will set aside £220 million of funding to extend the existing Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme which aims to tackle child poverty in some of the most deprived areas in the country.

The new raft of funding includes a £170 million Covid winter grant scheme to allow councils “to directly help the hardest-hit families and individuals, as well as provide food for children who need it over the holidays”.

The DWP has confirmed that the extended HAF programme will be delivered “in every local authority in England”.

The funding equates to around £157 for each of the 1.4 million young people currently entitled to means-tested free school meals in England.

Nick Brook, Deputy General Secretary of the NAHT said: “Whilst we would strongly encourage all eligible children to take part in activities during holiday periods, we would question whether provision of food to those going hungry should be dependent upon them attending an activity, which for a whole host of reasons might not be suitable, available or accessible for particular groups.”

As a result of the £170 million Covid winter grant scheme, local authorities will receive additional funding in December to help struggling families until March 2021, with at least 80 per cent set aside to provide help with food and bills.

The DWP has also confirmed that its healthy start programme, which provides poorer families with vouchers for staple items such as milk, fruit and vegetables, will increase in value from April 2021, rising from £3.10 to £4.25 per week.

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Government promises winter grants
Government promises winter grants

Government promises winter grants