Coronavirus daily update: Wednesday 1 July

The government has reissued advice on free school meals over fears incorrect guidance could lead to “the poorest children going hungry over the summer”.

DfE has issued updated guidance on free school meals. Picture: Adobe Stock
DfE has issued updated guidance on free school meals. Picture: Adobe Stock
  • Each day, CYP Now will summarise the key issues affecting the children and families sector as it tackles the effects of the pandemic. The daily update signposts children’s services practitioners and leaders to the latest developments, expert views, advice and resources.

Government retracts inaccurate free school meals guidance 

The government has reissued guidance on free school meals after including incorrect information about the eligibility of families with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF).

During the Covid-19 crisis, eligibility for free school meals has been extended to some children with NRPF and the maximum household earnings threshold for this support was later increased from £7,400 to £16,190 per year.

However, guidance updated on 25 June included the lower amount. This was amended on 30 June.

Labour’s shadow minister for children and early years minister Tulip Siddiq said: “Making sure that government guidance is accurate matters. This type of mistake could lead to many of the poorest children going hungry over the summer.”

Leicester lockdown sparks concerns for vulnerable young people

A report sent to members of the Independent Children’s Home Association (ICHA), and seen by CYP Now, says that some providers had “concerns regarding the possible loss of staff through track and trace” as lockdown measures are tightened in Leicester.

Care leavers charity Leicestershire Cares has expressed further concern over the impact of a lock lockdown on the mental health and wellbeing of young people left “confused” by government guidance.

Government urged to combat increasing poverty 

Nearly a third of people in poverty are living on less than half of what they would need simply to get above the poverty line, a new report by the Social Metrics Commission says.

In response to the new findings the Children’s Society has called on the government to implement urgent measures to tackle poverty across the UK.

The charity said: “Without substantial intervention the coronavirus will undoubtedly unleash further harm to the poorest in society. There is no time to waste.

"The government must end the five week wait for Universal Credit, suspend the No Recourse to Public Funds condition which prevents many families from accessing mainstream benefits, and they must make a long term funding commitment for local welfare assistance schemes to ensure families have somewhere to turn if they need emergency financial support.”

Activity packs for young carers during lockdown

More than 100 wellbeing activity packs have been delivered to young carers supported by Barnardo’s across Lancashire, thanks to money gifted to the charity’s Lancashire Young Carers service by a donor.

The bags were put together by Barnardo’s staff, with items catering for the needs and age of each child or young person.

Find out more about CYP Now’s #Chances4Children campaign

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