Expand free school meals to help with cost-of-living crisis

Research from the Mayor of London shows that an extra 270,000 children in London could receive free school meals if provision was extended to all primary school pupils, saving families struggling with the cost of living up to £440 a year per child.

The Mayor is reiterating his call on the Government to make healthy free school meals available to all primary school children to help with the spiralling cost-of-living, with thousands of schoolchildren across London living in poverty who aren’t in receipt of free school meals.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The Government must act now to introduce universal free school meals for all primary school children. This would help build a better London for everyone, saving families hundreds of pounds a year, ensuring all primary pupils are eating a healthy, nutritious meal at school and also eliminating the stigma associated with being eligible for free school meals, to increase uptake among those who need it most.”

Anna Taylor, Executive Director of the Food Foundation said: "All children should have an equal chance to thrive and be healthy, no matter where they live or how much their parents earn. By making school meals free for all children the government can deliver on its levelling up promise and help children achieve their true potential – especially children living in the most deprived parts of London.

"Ensuring children receive a hot, nutritious meal at lunchtime will be a lifeline for many Londoners facing extreme cost-of-living pressures this school term - many of whom are having to spend less on both cooking and eating at home to make ends meet. The Government should immediately prioritise the introduction of free school meals for the thousands of children who are living in poverty, but who don’t currently qualify, as a first step towards rolling out free school meals to all children in primary and secondary schools."