‘Utterly shameful’ – child poverty increases as FSM debate continues

Hundreds of thousands of children have been pulled back into poverty, food insecurity is rising, and 1.7 million children remain ineligible for free school meals despite their families being on Universal Credit.

The debate over free school meal (FSM) provision has reignited this week after a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) revealed flaws in the current system (Cribb et al, 2023).

It comes as around 350,000 more children have been pulled back into poverty according to the latest statistics published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP, 2023).

The total number of children living in relative poverty (families with a household income below 60% of median income after housing costs) has risen to 4.2 million in the period April 2021 to March 2022. This represents 29% of all UK children.

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