Losing Free School Meals, the main passported benefit for working age claimants, can cost a household significantly more than just the monetary value of the Free School Meal. This is because gross earnings have tax, national insurance and universal credit subtracted, leaving much less take home income to pay for your children’s packed lunch.
The table below I produced for the Social Security Advisory Committee and the Department for Education shows that in order to compensate for losing Free School Meals, a family will need their gross income to increase four times as much as their value. A family with three children losing free school meals worth £1,130 will need an increase in gross income of up to £4,700 to compensate.
I am doing some work with them on possible options for reform, but if you have any ideas you want to share, please comment below.