Free School Meals

Thank you for contacting me about the provision of free school meals.

There is a great deal of confusion regarding this issue, and this is largely the result of misinformation shared by the Labour Party.

The suggestion that one million children will lose out on free school meals is misinformed. This figure is based on a hypothetical situation where all children in receipt of Universal Credit receive free school meals, which was never the intention. If all children in families receiving Universal Credit were to become eligible for free school meals, around 50 per cent of all school aged pupils would be eligible. Instead, free school meals are rightly targeted at the children who need them most, with around 14 per cent of children eligible for and claiming free school meals last year.

The approach of setting an income threshold is comparable to the approach taken in Scotland where a similar net earnings threshold was introduced in August 2017.

The falsehoods put forward by Labour have fortunately been debunked by various authorities. I have attached a link below to a Channel4 "Fact Check" which may be of interest:

https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-labour-arent-telling-the-full-story-about-free-school-meals  

To be very clear, not a single child currently receiving free school meals will lose that entitlement. In fact by 2022, 50,000 more children will have a free hot school meal than today.

I hope this provides some clarity.