Confirmation needed that School Meals will continue during lockdown
With schools unlikely to reopen Minister must confirm meals will be available.
Weekly food parcels and vouchers were provided in first lockdown.
A bonus child benefit payment in January should also be considered to help parents meet extra costs.
With schools unlikely to reopen next week, Labour Senator Rebecca Moynihan has called on the Minister for Social Protection to confirm that school meals will continue to be made available to children.
Senator Moynihan said:
“Labour is urging the government to ensure school meals are provided to children who need them during any extended school closures. It is vital no child goes hungry during lockdown and that social supports are continued. Hunger does not take a break when schools close.
“The school meals programme is an essential support for thousands of children, and with classes unlikely to reopen next week it is critical that it continues for families.
“In the first lockdown from last March school meals continued in various formats including as food parcels and vouchers.
“The Minister for Social Protection should confirm as quickly as possible that alternative arrangements will be put in place if there is an extended closure.
“We know the pandemic has impacted really hard on children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Children have found their routines severely impacted and the fact that they will be at home all the time will put significant pressure on household budgets.
“If schools are closed for the rest of the month, a bonus child benefit payment in January should also be considered by the government to help parents meet the extra costs of having their children at home including for heating and distance learning.”