Changes to school meal benefit fears

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PLANNED changes to the free school meals (FSM) system could put thousands of low-income families in Leigh off working, a charity says.

According to the latest figures released by Wigan Council, 7,323 youngsters were eligible for free school meals in Wigan Borough in 2011.

Some 80 per cent of those eligible took up the offer (6,100).

The meals are linked to low-income benefits that will merge into a single Universal Credit in 2013.

The Children’s Society (CS) says if ministers tie eligibility to an income level, then parents may choose to work less to qualify for FSM.