The Government yesterday conceded to pressure to provide free school meals for children over the summer holidays. Councillors and campaigners including footballer Marcus Rashford succeeded in securing an extension of the emergency food vouchers that were in place over the Easter break for the summer holidays to help some of England’s poorest families.
This U-turn will be felt positively in cities and large towns across the country, particularly in places with large shares of young people eligible for free school meals. In places such as Liverpool, Hull and Birmingham over 23 per cent of students are eligible to receive free school meals. Whereas in places such as York, Aldershot and Reading, where less than 10 per cent of students are eligible, the effect will be less pronounced.
Children living in cities in the North of England and the Midlands are much more likely to be eligible for free school meals than those living in the Greater South East. All of the ten cities with the highest share of pupils eligible for free school meals are located in the North of England or the Midlands. Of the ten cities with the lowest shares of eligible pupils, nine are in the Greater South East.