'One million children living in poverty in England are set to miss out on free school meals under universal credit proposals, a charity has warned.
The Government has been accused of missing a “golden opportunity” to ensure no child in poverty goes hungry in school after it emerged just 700,000 of the 1.7 million school children in poverty would receive free school meals under plans to introduce means testing to the system.
While all families in receipt of universal credit have so far been automatically entitled to free school meals, The Children’s Society has warned the plans will create a “cliff-edge” where many families would be better off taking a pay cut.
Analysis of figures by the charity show that under the plans, once a family with one child passes the £7,400 threshold they would need to earn £1,124 a year more – the equivalent of working 2.4 hours more each week at national living wage – to make up for the loss in free school meals.
The Department for Education has disputed the claims, insisting that more than 50,000 extra children will be entitled to free school meals through its eligibility proposals following the rollout of universal credit.'
Read more: One million children living in poverty will miss out on free school meals under universal credit plans, charity warns
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