EDUCATION Minister Michelle McIlveen has confirmed that free school payments will continue to be paid to families over the summer holidays.

The meals will be part of a holiday food grant which was announced by the DUP Minister. The grant will run from July 1 to August 31 and will deliver financial assistance to families whose children are entitled to a free school meal during term time and who are still eligible at the end of June 2022. Families will receive £13.50 per week for each entitled child.

 

Minister McIlveen said: “School holidays can create significant financial pressure for parents on low incomes and the ongoing cost of living crisis is causing further strain on household budgets across Northern Ireland. That is why I am allocating £12.6million funding to provide the families of children entitled to free school meals with additional financial support over the summer holidays.

“At a time when many families are already financially vulnerable, this payment will help to ensure that more than 100,000 of our children and young people can continue to access healthy, nutritious food this summer.

“This is an anxious time for many low income parents and I hope confirmation of this payment will provide some reassurance to them and alleviate some of the pressure they are experiencing.”

Sinn Féin education spokesperson Pat Sheehan said: “I welcome confirmation that the 100,000 children and their families who rely on these financial payments will continue to be supported over the summer holidays. 

“Sinn Féin has a plan to make this support permanent for children and families to put an end to the uncertainty caused by the DUP's boycott of the Executive and the Assembly. 

“We are ready to get the Executive up and running today to start putting money in people’s pockets and I would urge the DUP to join with the rest of us and get on with the job that people elected us to do.”