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Weekly Update: Week 23/11 – Northern Ireland commits to Holiday Provision, Ban Unhealthy Food Advertising Online Consultation Guidance on Winter Grant Scheme Published

The Department of Education (DE) in Northern Ireland has announced it will pay for free school meals for eligible children during the school holidays until April 2022. Funding of £40 million, which will begin from the Christmas break, will be benefit families of approximately 100,000 children who will receive payments when children are off school.

The announcement comes after the Department for Education (DfE) committed to rolling out in 2021 the Holiday and Activity Programme to benefit disadvantaged children during the Easter and summer holidays in England. During Christmas and until Easter next year, the Covid Winter Grant Scheme will be in place – newly published guidance confirms that funding, administered via Local Authorities, can be distributed by vouchers or grants and will provide assistance to vulnerable households affected by Covid, including families whose children access Free School Meals during term time.

Meanwhile, in a bid to tackle the growing child obesity crisis, the Government has launched a new consultation on proposals to ban online adverts promoting unhealthy high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) foods.  The consultation was announced as a measure as part of the government’s tackling obesity strategy announced in July. The consultation will run for six weeks – closing 11.59pm 22nd December.

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