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New funding scheme to help families access to out of school activities

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A new funding scheme is to be set up to help the children of families on low incomes to access out-of-school activities.

Cambridgeshire County Council has agreed to work with partners to establish the scheme, which will help children achieve their full educational and personal potential.

Councillors approved a motion at a full County Council meeting yesterday (Tuesday) to set up the initiative, and also to write to the Government to express the council’s grave concern at the impact that the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit will have on many families in Cambridgeshire - and the potential impact of such a reduction on the lives of a large number of children and young people.

Lucy Nethsingha . Picture: Keith Heppell. (52838788)
Lucy Nethsingha . Picture: Keith Heppell. (52838788)

The motion – from council leader Councillor Lucy Nethsingha – noted that the number of children receiving Free Schools Meals in Cambridgeshire had increased from 12,870 eligible pupils in March 2020 to 16,498 eligible pupils in May 2021

In order to be eligible for Free School Meals a family must have a net annual income of no more than £7,400 if in receipt of Universal Credit, or have a gross annual income of £16,190 if in receipt of Child Tax Credits (and not be eligible for Working Tax Credits).

Coun Nethsingha said: “I am horrified at the cut of £20 a week to Universal Credit. This will cause great distress and difficulty to the very families who need it most. Numerous studies have illustrated the severe impact poverty has on educational outcomes and subsequent life chances for children.

“The pressures on these families are already mounting as a result of the increases in National Insurance and rises in the cost of living, including essentials such as petrol, diesel and gas – together with the knock-on increase in the cost of other goods as a result.

“I am delighted that the council agreed today to take steps to alleviate this pressure by working with partners to set up a funding scheme to help those families in need with the cost of accessing out of school activities. It is the very least we can do.”

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