Marks and Spencer to boost £15 free school meal vouchers to £20

MARKS & Spencer has announced it will add £5 to every £15 free school meal voucher spent in the supermarket.

This means that parents will be able to get £20 worth of food in total, which M&S says will help kids get a free breakfast too.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

The state-backed vouchers are issued to low income families whose children usually benefit from free school meals to help pay for lunches while they're closed due to England's national lockdown.

The vouchers are worth £15 a week per child and can be spent at a range of different supermarkets, including Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda.

To get the vouchers boosted at M&S, parents should exchange their eCode issued via the free school meals scheme to get an M&S giftcard.

The giftcard will automatically be loaded with the extra £5 which you can spend it in store.

How can I apply for free school meal vouchers?

HOW you claim the free school meals depends on where you live.

For example, you can either get a form to fill in from your school, call your local council or fill in an online form.

Start by entering your postcode into the Gov.uk website to see what the process is in your area.

There’s a different process if you live in Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales.

It's worth pointing out that if you claim housing benefit or council tax support you can apply for free school meals when you are filling out your forms.

After you’ve loaded up your basket, simply go to the checkout and hand over the voucher.

The scheme has been backed by footballer Marcus Rashford, who has spearheaded the drive to get kids free school meals.

He said he relied on free breakfasts as a child and said he was “confident” there will be a “great response from those most vulnerable”.

He added: “Education is the most effective means of breaking cycles of hardship in some respects but education is only achievable with strong engagement and concentration. 

“Unfortunately for the majority, hunger does not allow that. I thank M&S for taking the strong initiative to support the uplift of the vouchers to cover an essential meal of the day.”

M&S has also put together a breakfast and lunch planner you can use to give you inspiration for preparing meals.

You can download the planner here, and meals include porridge, homemade pizzas and tomato pasta.

The voucher boost will be welcomed by families after a week of free school meal crises.

A fresh row over free school meals yesterday, with schools being told not to provide meal vouchers to families during the February half-term.

The Department of Education said that schools do not need to dole out the vouchers to kids – and parents will have to apply to the £170million Winter Grant Scheme instead.

It followed national outrage earlier this week after families posted photos to social media of meagre food parcels sent out by school meals supplier Chartwells.

Following the backlash, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson slammed the packages to be a “scandal and disgrace”.

He said parents will be able to use the Free School Meals voucher programme again from Monday to shop for their kids’ lunches themselves.

Piers Morgan came to blows with Matt Hancock earlier this week after he refused to say he regrets voting against free school meals during lockdown seven times.

Want to know how to apply for free school meals during lockdown? We have all the details in this guide.

And after a disastrous week for free school meals, The Sun shows you how you can feed your kids ten lunches for less than £30 – and they certainly won’t go hungry.

Source: Read Full Article