The UK government will extend the Healthy Start voucher scheme to thousands of disadvantaged children under four years of age who were previously denied the support because of their families’ immigration status.
Matt Hancock agreed to broaden the eligibility criteria of the programme after a team of lawyers brought a legal challenge against the government on behalf of a British one-year-old and her mother.
The scheme provides vouchers worth £4.25 per child per week to low-income families for milk and healthy food, but – as with other UK benefits – locks out families who do not have final settled status in the UK.
“This is a great outcome for some of the most disadvantaged children in our society who should have never been excluded from accessing this essential support in the first place,” said Olivia Halse, the MG&Co solicitor representing the mother and her child.
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“We hope this extension will go some way toward tackling health inequalities and child food poverty in the UK and help provide these children with a healthy start in life. Now more than ever, the most deprived families need the additional help that the Healthy Start scheme was intended to provide.”