A number of people have contacted me regarding free school meals and I am writing to them with the following response:
"Thank you for contacting me about free school meals. I do understand your concerns, particularly given the misinformation being circulated by opposition parties and social media campaigns.
The government is not 'cutting free school meals for a million children'. This claim has been debunked by the independent Fact-Check service of Channel 4 News (not a media organisation ever knowingly supportive of the government).
The facts are as follows: Ministers temporarily made Universal Credit a qualifying benefit for free school meals, regardless of income. This was only ever an interim measure during the period of switchover. Hence Parliament has now voted, by a large majority, to confirm the final eligibility criteria. Unfortunately the opposition are trying to portray this change as a cut, which it is not. Firstly, transitional protections will mean that nobody currently receiving free school meals will lose their entitlement when moving onto Universal Credit. And secondly, the number of children receiving free school meals overall will actually increase by about 50,000.
It is disappointing that the opposition parties are making misleading claims about free school meals. Their cynical scaremongering worries people unnecessarily, and proves that they won't let the facts get in the way of their political game-playing. It also demonstrates, once again, that much of what is found on social media needs to be treated with a great deal of caution.
Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the facts, and I hope I have been able to reassure you. Do let me know if I can be of further assistance."
If you have any further questions please do email me on firstname.lastname@example.org