London has the highest proportion of children in poverty who do not receive free school meals, the Standard can reveal.
About 210,000 pupils in London live in households that rely on universal credit but miss out on free school meals — because their parents earn more than the restrictive threshold of £7,400 a year, excluding benefits. This equates to 41 per cent of all children in the capital living in poverty.
It compares to 100,000 pupils being denied in the North-West, 90,000 in the East, and 80,000 in the West Midlands — amounting respectively to 30, 38 and 25 per cent of children in poverty in those regions.
The data has been given to the Standard by the Child Poverty Action Group, one of several campaigning groups that together with the Food Foundation launched Feed the Future, a campaign calling on the Prime Minister to extend free school meals to all families in receipt of universal credit.
The action group said: “We must ensure every child in poverty in England can get a free nutritious meal at school every day.”