Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bradford sets up food poverty fund for new migrants

Nearly 800 children in Bradford are getting free meals through a fund set up to help families from Eastern Europe living in food poverty.

The city's health bosses have provided £219,000 to help schools set up breakfast clubs and subsidise meals.

Bradford Council said new migrants needed help during the "transitional" phase before they became eligible for benefits and normal free school meals.

But the authority said the funding was only available until March 2015.

The one-off sum of money has been provided by the Bradford City and Bradford District Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Labour councillor Ralph Berry, chair of the district's Child Poverty Board, said the funding was for any children in food poverty who were not eligible for free school meals, most of whom had arrived from Eastern Europe in the past year.

"We've got a duty to promote the wellbeing of all children in Bradford," he said.

"Even though some of these families may well be in work, they're not entitled to claim the credits and premiums that go with being a parent in a low-wage economy.

"Most of this is transitional, I don't think we're talking about people who [will need this service] year on year."

Mr Berry said 20 schools had to subsidise breakfast, lunch and after-school meals for 787 children.

The money is also being used for cooking and gardening schemes and for a dedicated member of staff for 12 months.

A report produced by the council last year said in January 2013 there were about 2,640 children on school rolls whose parents were from central and Eastern Europe, and the number of migrants had been increasing every year since 2004.

Rules came into force this year preventing EU migrants from claiming UK out-of-work benefits until they have been in the country for three months.

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