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3000 North Yorkshire Children Missing Out on Free School Meals


8:38am 7th March 2013

More than three-thousand children in the Minster FM area are missing out on free school meals.

Despite them being in poverty, they still have to pay for school dinners because their parents are working.

In Selby, Thirsk and Malton that's more than 4 in 10 children who are in poverty who are missing out.

In Yorkshire and the Humber almost 62,000 children are living in poverty and are missing out on vital free school meals, says the Children's Society.

They add that the number missing out represents 32% of all children in poverty in the area who are not getting a free school meal.

The Children’s Society, through its Fair and Square campaign, is calling on the government to make free school meals available to all children in poverty. They are urging people to contact their MP to support this call.

The Children’s Society says that for some children, a free school lunch may be the only proper meal they get. They add that across the country, for a third of children whose parents The Children's Society spoke to, lunch was their main meal of the day. 

For parents in poverty, finding the £370 a year needed for each child’s school meal often means struggling to provide their children with the basics, including buying them shoes for school and heating the home, say's the Children’s Society.

They add that many low-income families are unable to get free school meals simply because their parents are working – no matter how little they earn.

The Children’s Society Chief Executive Matthew Reed said: “It is shocking that huge numbers of children in poverty in Yorkshire and the Humber are missing out on a free school meal. Every child in poverty should be entitled to this vital support.

“We know from the families we work with up and down the country that parents are struggling to make ends meet.  Right now, the government is reconsidering which children will be entitled to get free school meals. We urge the government to take this opportunity to make sure all children in poverty can get a free school meal.”

The charity says that in collaboration with 38 Degrees, it has already gathered more than 90,000 signatures in support of the campaign.  They add that with the introduction of changes to the benefit system under Universal Credit, the government has an opportunity to make this happen.

The Children’s Society say that across the country every day, more than half of the 2.2 million school children living in poverty in England miss out on a free school meal. Of these, they add 700,000 are not even entitled to one – often because their parents work, regardless of how little they earn.

For more information and to see our detailed map  please visit The Children’s Society’s Fair and Square campaign


Estimate of the numbers of children in poverty missing out on FSM

Proportion of children in poverty missing out on fsm (%)




Selby and Ainsty



Thirsk and Malton



York Central



Yorkshire East



York Outer



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