February Half Term Meal Vouchers could be the last


As hundreds of Sefton families get February half term help from the Local Authority, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities has warned time and funding is running out to keep the vital service going.

Since October 2020, Sefton Council has used the Department for Work and Pensions Household Support Fund to provide thousands of vouchers to buy food during school holidays worth £15 per child per week. However, with a new financial year on the horizon and no sign of continued support from Central Government, there is concern that the cuts could lead to the end of the vital service.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, has been meeting with the team behind the Local Authority’s Free School Meals programme which helps to feed thousands of children who may otherwise go without during the February half term.

Cllr Hardy said:

“Frankly, it is shocking that in 2024, in the sixth richest nation in the world, there are thousands of children having to claim means-tested, free school meals just to get by this half term.

“With the Government due to cut Household Support funding from April it will leave a massive hole in the support and services that Sefton and councils across the country will be able to provide to those people worst affected by the cost-of-living crisis. Those households where people are afraid to turn the heating on, put food on the table or use the gas or electricity to cook it.

“This half term we are once again providing those free school meal vouchers to families, however without further funding from government, we may not be able to provide this vital support during the next school holidays. I would strongly urge the Government to think again before withdrawing this vital support that is providing this lifeline for families.”