Friday, December 2, 2022

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Charities are urging the government to increase free school meals

Charity bosses have urged the government to act “urgently” to expand free school meals as part of the “Feed the Future” campaign pleasemynews.

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“We must decide as a nation that making hungry children look for food is wrong and that extending free school meals to all children in poverty is the right thing to do, because we know one thing – hungry children cannot learn,” said Stephanie Slater, chief executive of School Food Matters, while supporting the Feed the Future campaign, which calls on the Prime Minister to extend free school meals to all pupils in England whose parents receive Universal Credit.

With the cost of living tightening, the chief executives of a number of organizations who have joined our campaign have spoken out about the need to help the 800,000 children in England who live in poverty but are forgoing free school meals because their parents have crossed the threshold earn from £7,400 a year.

Naomi Duncan, Chief Executive of Chefs in Schools, said: “Our chefs see children coming to school with no money and no food, who don’t meet the criteria for free school meals and yet are hungry and don’t know who to ask. We are calling for the entitlement to free school meals in England to be urgently extended. It’s not sustainable.

“For 120 years, UK governments have recognized that hungry children cannot learn and together we have built a school feeding system admired around the world. We have evidence that a good school meal is associated with better attendance, better behavior, better learning and better health.

“Expanding eligibility for free school meals now would be a targeted, effective measure to support the cost of living and a wise investment in the children who are the future of this country.”

Barbara Crowther, National Coordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign for Sustain, said: “Tragically, by maintaining the draconian means-testing system for school lunches, we are failing children. Let’s start by immediately expanding access to all children in poverty. We are investing in the future prosperity of the country by investing in children.”

Christina Adane, spokeswoman for Bite Back 2030, said: “The government has the opportunity to make the system fairer. Children should get the support they need to perform well when they need it most.”

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