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The Children's Society found 1,900 children in Basingstoke are missing out
ABOUT 1,900 children in Basingstoke living in poverty are missing out on free school meals, according to figures from a children’s charity.
The Children’s Society has revealed that 49 per cent of all children living in poverty in the Basingstoke parliamentary area are not receiving a free lunch at school, and it is now calling on the Government to make the meals available to all children in poverty as part of its Fair and Square campaign.
In the North East Hampshire constituency, the figure is 900 – 61 per cent of children, and it is 54 per cent – 1,300 children – in the North West Hampshire area.
The charity said that for some children, a free school lunch may be the only proper meal they eat, but many low income families are missing out on this benefit simply because the parents work, no matter how little they earn.
Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: “It is shocking that huge numbers of children in poverty in the south-east 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 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 has already gathered more than 90,000 signatures in support of its campaign.
Nationally, the charity says that more than half of the 2.2 million schoolchildren living in poverty in England miss out of a free school meal every day.
For more information, visit childrenssociety.org.uk/fairandsquare.