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The Children’s Society calls for action to help the 32% of youngsters in West Yorkshire.
16,700 children living in poverty in Kirklees, Calderdale and Bradford are missing out on vital free school meals, according to a leading children's charity.
The number missing out represents 32% of all children in poverty in West Yorkshire who are not getting a free school meal.
The Children’s Society, through its Fair and Square campaign, is calling on the government to make free school meals available to all children in poverty.
The charity says that for some children, a free school lunch may be the only proper meal they get. Across the country, for a third of children whose parents The Children's Society spoke to, lunch was their main meal of the day.
The Children’s Society Chief Executive Matthew Reed said: "It is shocking that huge numbers of children in poverty in West Yorkshire are missing out on a free school meal. Every child in poverty should be entitled to this vital support.
"We know from the families we work with up and down the country that parents are struggling to make ends meet. Right now, the government is reconsidering which children will be entitled to get free school meals. We urge the government to take this opportunity to make sure all children in poverty can get a free school meal.”
Across the country every day, more than half of the 2.2 million school children living in poverty in England miss out on a free school meal. Of these, 700,000 are not even entitled to one – often because their parents work, regardless of how little they earn.