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The Somerset Guardian, 8th February 2023

The cost of living increase is affecting almost every family in North East Somerset but inflation hits the least well off most. It is, therefore, reassuring that, once again, support is being made available to families who are eligible for benefit-related free school meals.

The vouchers for this extra support are being funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which has set aside £421million for County Councils and Unitary Authorities in England to help those most affected by global inflationary challenges and the rising cost of living.

This expenditure, emanating from the taxpayer via the Government’s Household Support Fund, covers the period from 1st October 2022 to 31st March 2023 and Local Authorities have discretion on exactly how this funding is used within the scope set out by the DWP. As before, there will be a review once this ends and it is expected that a similar commitment will be honoured by the Government in time for the Easter holidays so that children from the most vulnerable households do not go without outside of term time.

People who received extra assistance at Christmas do not need to reapply for this scheme but are asked to look out for an e-mail from the Council asking for confirmation as to whether the vouchers are required. Those who think that they are eligible or were offered vouchers previously but have not received any correspondence from the Council by Thursday 9th February 2023 should email: or telephone: 01225 477277.

Although taxpayers’ money should never be lightly spent I am glad that the Government has continued to fund the Council so that those in North East Somerset who are most deprived get the help that they need.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance:

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