Free School Meals for infants next year: CPAG response

17 September 2013

The Deputy Prime Minister has announced that from next September infant school pupils in England will be provided with free school meals:

"That’s why I’m delighted to tell you that we are now also going to provide free school meals for all children of infant school age. From next September we’ll give every child in Reception, and Years 1 and 2 a healthy lunch every day – saving families more than £400 per year, per child.  And, for the Liberal Democrats, this is a first step: my ambition is to provide free school meals for all primary school children. Another reason we want to get into Government again next time round."

Read the full speech.

CPAG has been a longstanding and consistent advocate of free school meals for all children, campaigning at UK, Scotland and local levels.

Earlier this month, CPAG and 4 in 10  published the 'Let's All Have Lunch!' report to launch a campaign for all children in London primary schools to be provided with free school meals.

In response to the announcement by Nick Clegg, CPAG has asked the Scottish Government to make good on its free school meals committments.

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group, told the BBC:

"Providing free school meals to all children actually improves help for children in poverty. More poor children in working families will now be eligible and fewer children will be put off by worries that they will be singled out as being poor because they have a free school meal.

"Providing free school meals for young primary school children will help put pounds in the pockets of parents struggling to pay for school lunches but it is also a necessary investment for the future that will pay off by improving child health and raising educational attainment. No child should be too hungry to learn."