Automatically register children for free school meals, says Field

Frank Field MP

Labour MP Frank Field has garnered cross party backing from more than 100 MPs for a Bill to automatically register children for free school meals if they are eligible.

Under the current system, parents of children eligible for means-tested free school meals are encouraged to sign up on an ‘opt-in’ basis, which has faced criticism as it allows eligible children to miss out the meals.

The proposed Bill has already got the backing of 125 MPs, which includes 27 Conservative MPs, 91 Labour MPs, a handful of Northern Irish and Scottish MPs and the sole Green MP Caroline Lucas.

Field said: “In the past decade or so, the last carriage, that fourth class carriage with the poor has become detached from the train journey the rest of us are on.

“The policy of automatic registration for free school meals has delivered a win-win situation in those areas of the country that have been bold enough to embrace it.

“By guaranteeing many more of our poorest children a hot meal every lunchtime during term time, the policy ensures substantial numbers of children need no longer struggle to concentrate on an empty stomach.”

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