London Mayor offers free school meals to primary school kids

Londoin kids to have a free lunch for a year/Shutterstock Images

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a one-off £130 million pound emergency program coming into effect in September—free school meals to every primary school student in London for one year.

‘The cost-of-living crisis means families and children across our city are in desperate need of additional support,’ Mr Khan said yesterday.

“I have repeatedly urged the Government to provide free school meals to help already stretched families, but they have simply failed to act. That is why I am stepping forward…”

Mr Khan called free school meals a ‘lifeline’, adding that he had personally benefitted from them as a child.

This move will help 270,000 pupils and save families in London about £440 per child over the year of the scheme.

According to the Food Foundation, an estimated 800,000 children in England are living in poverty but do not qualify for free school meals under the current rate of having to earn below £7,400 a year to qualify.

Anna Taylor, chief executive of the Food Foundation, called on the Government to follow Mr Khan’s lead.

She said: “We applaud London’s Mayor for taking timely action to support families fighting the cost of living by ensuring every primary school pupil gets a nutritious lunch, no matter their background.

“This is a monumental step forward for safeguarding children’s diets, well-being and learning across the capital.

“However, outside of London, hundreds of thousands of children living in poverty still don’t qualify for a Free School Meal. Central Government must now honour its levelling up commitment by investing in Free School Meal expansion for every community in the upcoming budget.”

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