Keep free school meals for low paid families in England

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Free school meals are crucial for many children who without them would be unlikely to get a meal during the day at school. Many working families try really hard to provide for their children, often working long hours for low pay just to make ends meet. Most working so much that they barely see the children they are killing themselves to provide for. 

These families are trying their best and hear all the time how being in full time work pays, i can tell you that it often doesn't. The current threshold for free school meals is already unfair and doesn't take into account single working families who have to live solely on the wage one spouse brings in (like my family), currently it stands at £16,190 but only if you don't claim working tax credit as well (Working tax 4 week run on is allowed) which most low income families do and rely very heavily on to top up their income. If you are a single income family who is earning £17,000 a year you will know what i am talking about, what may seem like a large income is actually very little when you factor in all the costs of living. Two parents earning £17,000 a year would live fairly comfortably but on just one wage you would be surprised how little is left after all your costs have been taken out. I ask you this simple question Theresa- and all those who voted to decrease the threshold this week, would you be able to live on £17,000 a year? Would you be able to pay for two children, rent, food, council tax, water, tv licence, phone and broadband (we all know that is a necessity now), school meals, after school provisions and breakfast club, car tax, car insurance, diesel or petrol, childcare for the 2 year old (because with that income you have to pay for that as well), prescriptions for your poorly wife who has lupus, parking fees for the multiple hospital trips you make, birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Summer holidays, school trips, after school activities like scouts, school uniforms, new clothes and shoes that the kids will need every few months at the very least, pet insurance, home insurance...saving for your own home...could you honestly do all of that on £17,000? I don't think you could. So why are you asking us to? 

Under the new scheme parents could only earn £7400 a year before they are no longer entitled to free school meals, not only is the system currently unfair on single working families but now even those who can only work part time will be stripped of a benefit they so desperately need. How is this fair? Do you think about the children who will possibly go hungry as a direct result of this change when you are claiming back your lunch? It doesn't feel like you do. 

I am writing this petition to urge the government to change their minds on free school meals, given that NI will only have a £14,000 pay cap i think we can make it equal in England. But even £14,000 is harsh on working families who have so much to pay for already, for us the idea of ever owning our own homes is slipping further and further away. Please consider single working families when you makes these changes, living on one wage is harder than you think. That end of the year number means nothing to us, i bet we barely see any of it. 

Don't punish our children to save money, a meal at school should be a right not a privilege.