One in seven pupils in the East Riding of Yorkshire are claiming free school meals, new figures show.
The Labour Party claims a full roll-out of Universal Credit will take the meals away from children on the benefits system, as it says families will become ineligible for them.
The latest Department for Education survey on school populations in England found that 13% of state school pupils in the East Riding of Yorkshire received free meals at school lunchtimes in January – 6,127 children in total.
Since 2018, the proportion of pupils claiming the meals in the East Riding of Yorkshire has risen by 1.6 percentage points.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said: “The Government’s short-term solution for the failings of Universal Credit has a brutal expiry date: if UC is ever rolled out, the Tories will stop the children of families on UC being automatically eligible for free school meals.”
The Department for Education dismissed the Labour claims as “scaremongering”, adding that pupils eligible for the meals on or after 1 April last year can still claim them even if their circumstances change. They say fewer youngsters stopped being eligible for them as a result.
Article by data reporter Alex Shaw