Lynne Featherstone MP welcomes free school meals announcement

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg has announced that every child in infant school in England will receive free school meals.

From September 2014, all infant school pupils (including 9,426 in Haringey) will benefit from a free hot and healthy meal at lunchtime.

This will save families around £400 a year per child, while helping to raise school standards and cut the attainment gap.

The announcement follows an independent review which found that, in pilots where all children had been given a free school dinner, students were academically months ahead of their peers elsewhere.

Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said

“Free meals did already exist for children from poorer backgrounds – but research showed that many were not claimed because parents were not aware of the option, or unwilling to admit they qualified.

“Making all infant school children eligible will remove this stigma – for parents and children.

“In addition, it will ensure that all children are receiving a nutritious, healthy and filling lunch, which is proven to have a positive impact on performance at school.

“The measure saves parents money, too. During the course of a year, the average family spends £400 on lunch for each child. Now, they will not have to spend this – which means that parents of the 9,426 eligible children in Haringey will collectively be £3.7million better off!

“The Liberal Democrats are committed to creating a fairer society by giving everyone an equal chance to succeed and get on in life – and this policy is a step in the right direction.”