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Where are free school meals most needed?

The debate over whether the government should provide food for pupils who are eligible for free school meals over the half-term holiday is rumbling on, with the prime minister standing by his refusal to do so. The government did step in over the summer holidays after a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford, agreeing it was fair to do so as pupils had not been at school during term time because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As you can see from the chart below, many of the areas with the highest percentage of pupils eligible for the support are also those in the higher tiers of restrictions, with Knowsley, Manchester and now Nottingham among those in the very high level.

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