There are 750,000 students in the UK who rely on Free School Meals. Almost none of them get to keep the change from their daily £2.30 allowance for lunch. This means that each year school meal providers make £65 million profit from the tax-payers' money intended to benefit some of the poorest children.
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We need to end this injustice and make sure that pupils everywhere are able to carry over their unspent lunch money, so they can use the extra money they're entitled to on days when they need it most - such as when they couldn't afford to eat breakfast at home.
To do this, we need Council Leaders on our side: getting in touch with all the schools in their area to find out what catering arrangements are in place in each school. Some schools provide meals in-house, others via private catering companies and yet others are managed by local councils themselves.
Subject: Fix free School Meal payments in our local schools
I am writing as a local resident concerned that children on Free School Meals in schools across the UK are prevented from carrying over their unused school lunch allowance.
These are children who come from some of the poorest and most disadvantaged backgrounds in our communities. They should be able to make full use of the Free School Meals money intended for them.
This concerns me - as it should all of us - because it's holding young people back from concentrating in class, thriving in school and fulfilling their potential.
Without access to their change, pupils on Free School Meals don’t get to use the extra money on those days when they were unable to eat breakfast at home.
A pupil-led investigation by community organising charity Citizens UK has revealed that most of the 750,000 UK students who are on Free School Meals are likely to be affected and that each year a profit of a whopping £65 million is made by school meal providers keeping the ‘change’ from pupils’ meals. Depending on each school, providers can be the school itself, the Council or a private company. Often schools are unaware of the problem or unsure about how to fix the issue.
But a number of schools are already leading the way and fixing their payments system to give pupils access to the change that belongs to them. This shows that it can be done.
As the head of my Council, I urge you to investigate the catering and payments arrangements found in schools in our area. I also ask that you encourage schools to take concrete steps to rectify this problem.
I hope that you will take this opportunity to help make a tangible difference to hundreds of local children.
I look forward to hearing from you.
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