Council renews calls for free school meal expansion

Monday 21 November 2022

Councillor Matt Morrow, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “To say it is a shame that the Government didn’t use this budget to extend free school meals is an understatement."

“This is a huge missed opportunity and at a time when we are all thinking about budgets and counting pennies, this could have provided a big relief to millions of families.  

“Each family has their own challenges. With the cost of living crisis causing chaos, people who are doing their best don’t know how they will afford even the basics. There are now thousands of people living close to the breadline that are being told that they are not poor enough to get help.  

“These families are at risk of falling between the cracks – the government could have extended free school meals to many more children but has chosen not to. 

“The cracks will only widen over the coming months. The UK is now in a recession, and the impact of that will be felt by hard-working parents across the country. Considering the forecasts of what bills will cost over the next year, lots of parents are worried about finding the cash for 5 lunches a week.  

“By extending free school meals to every primary school child from a household where a guardian is receiving benefits, you are guaranteeing millions more young people a good, filling meal, and reducing the stigma that has historically accompanied free meals.  

“Research has shown that children who are hungry at school struggle to concentrate, perform poorly, and have worse attendance records.  

“That’s why we continue to support No Child Left Behind's campaign and will continue to shout about this issue, as we believe it shouldn’t be a debate that every child in our borough gets a decent meal at school.” 

To check if you’re eligible for free school meals click here.

And to explore other support available click here.