Conservative free breakfast pledge allocated 7p per meal

The Conservative party’s free breakfast promise budget will leave just under 7p per meal to cover costs, manifesto calculations show.

According to Schools Week, food experts have labelled this a “black hole” in its manifesto calculations.

The Conservative’s manifesto promises to scrap universal infant free school meals, which cost around £600 million a year, to be replaced with free breakfast for primary pupils, which has been said to cost £60 million a year.

This is in order to save a sum of around £650 million of school money.

However, critics have calculated that if the country’s 4.62 million primary state school pupils were fed a free breakfast on this budget for 190 school days each year, each meal would have to cost no more than 6.8p.

Even if just half of those pupils took up the offer of free breakfast, these meals would cost just 13.6p each.

Aisling Kirwan, the founding director of the Grub Club, a school-based social enterprise that provides cooking lessons for pupils in poorer areas, said that a nutritious meal costs 25p per pupil on average – which even then would only amount to porridge with milk.

Dr Rebecca Allen, director of think tank Education Datalab, said schools were looking at a bill in the region of £400 million once costs of paying a teaching assistant to oversee the breakfast club were included.

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