Universal Free School Meals Under Threat In Government Spending Review

20 September 2015

school meals independent pm

It's just a few days ago that we wrote about the government plans to slash Tax Credit payments for both working and stay at home parents, and yet today brings more news reports about plans that could hit family budgets further.

It has been reported in several news sources today that The Chancellor George Osbourne's November spending review could see the Free School Meal Scheme for all infant school children scrapped.

The Universal Free School Meal policy provides lunchtime meals for all pupils in Key Stage 1, and is thought to save families around £400 per child per year. It was introduced by the coalition government and was included in the Conservative Manifesto at the General Election in May this year. It also required a lot of investment and changes for the upgrading and building of school kitchens to provide the school meals.

As there are several sources reporting that the Free School Meal scheme is under threat the National Association of Head Teachers is looking for reassurance that the funding will continue.

Although the Department for Education has most of its £54 billion budget ring-fenced, about £14 billion spent on early years education, teacher training, colleges and free school meals is not protected. The Education Secretary has to offer two proposals for the November spending review where finding for these unprotected areas would be cut by 25% and 40%.

The Department of Education refuses to rule out scrapping the Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme which currently costs £800 million a year.

What are your thoughts on the threat to school meals? Do you agrees with the commentator who says that giving meals free "regardless of parental wealth" does not offer "value for money" for the government? Or do you agree with Jamie Oliver who says it would be "a disaster" to scrap them, and the Head Teachers who want to keep them "after all the money and time invested"?

Let us know what you think about the threat to free school meals in the comment below, or over on our Facebook page.

Source: Sky News, Images: The Independent

TOPICS:   News and Recalls


  • tracey2015
    Well I think ALL children go and have to go to school so ALL children in education SHOULD be entitled to FREE school meals, no matter if parents are working or NOT. ... All these rights are corporate are children now and when the world moves on to there children, its gunna be even harder for them. Why let children suffer Any of this. .....
  • taznat
    So it's OK to take everything away from is and we are British but u want to let refugees in and give them everything what happened to charity starts at home people are in thousands of pounds in debt and u want to make them suffer more
  • Stwakeman
    Why would you even think of doing this. For all those poor families, they send there kids to school to get a decent meal in them to help them eat healthy and for those ones that don't even get food at home that one meal may be the only meal they get all day. And you want to take that away from them . What is this government coming to seriously doubting great britian now.
  • moyeph
    Nice 1 the poor can never stand up he have to start from his wage put it down not kids meal now

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