Thanks to the actions of Marcus Rashford, the SNP Government has been forced (unlike the Tories) to make £6.95m available to local councils to fund free school meals over the Christmas, February and Easter breaks. As the announcement was not made until last week, people will have to apply to be reimbursed for the October break.
It should not take a pandemic for Scotland to ensure food is on the table of the poorest households – see my pre-Covid Council motion here.
Full briefing from the Council below.
The Scottish Government confirmed last week that £6.95m is being made available to local authorities to provide Free School Meals (FSM) to eligible families during the holidays throughout the winter months.
Final allocations are still to be confirmed but Edinburgh is expected to receive £330,000. This includes covering provision for the October holidays, with the option for Councils to provide retrospective cash payments – which we are doing.
Scottish Ministers have also offered funding for the Easter holidays in 2021, which will be agreed in the next financial year – Edinburgh’s allocation has still to be confirmed.
As of today (Monday 26 October) we have made 6,435 retrospective payments (£13.50 per child) for the 2020 October holiday period direct to bank accounts for eligible families.
The payments are paid to the parents and carers of P1 to S6 children who receive a School Clothing Grant. As with the previous FSM payments over the school closures/summer holidays, children in P1 to P3 are not automatically entitled to FSM payments even though they receive the meals under Scottish Government legislation. In order to get the FSM holiday payments, they must have received a clothing grant/or have an income-based entitlement to FSM for the current term (2020/21).
A letter is also being issued to parents/carers who have been identified as being entitled to FSM with full details of how to send us their payment information securely using our online form before the end of November (30/11/20).
Parent and carers who were in receipt of FSM before the October holiday do not have to contact the Council as they will automatically receive the FSM holiday payment. Parents and carers who applied for FSM before the October holiday do not have to contact the Council as they will automatically be considered for the FSM holiday payment when their application is processed.
Residents making enquiries about FSM payments will be directed to the online application form where the eligibility criteria is set out: https://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/xfp/form/221.