Free school meals could be available to all families no matter what you earn under new rules

12 February 2020, 10:21 | Updated: 12 February 2020, 10:28

Children's lunches could be free under new rules
Children's lunches could be free under new rules. Picture: Getty Images

London Assembly has called for all school meals to be made available to children. 

Plans are being made to make all school lunches free for children across the country. 

At the moment, only pupils from low-income households, including those on Universal Credit or income support are entitled to free meals. 

Children in the first three years of primary school are also automatically signed up to get lunches for nothing.

However, according to new research by the Mayor of London, around 400,000 children in the capital have "very low food security".

All children could get free school meals
All children could get free school meals. Picture: Getty Images

This means they are at risk of being “without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.”

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Food banks go a way to helping this problem, but charity Trussel Trust has revealed that only 166,512 Londoners received assistance last year.

This means that thousands of children are currently going without enough nutrition.

In a bid to tackle this, the London Assembly are trying to create a "zero-hunger city", calling for Sadiq Khan to write to the Secretary of State for Education to make the case for universal free meals for all school children.

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Assembly Member Fiona Twycross, who proposed the case, said: "In one of the richest cities in the world, this is simply unacceptable.

"Foodbanks and other charities do an incredible job of providing emergency food parcels to those affected by food poverty, but the simple truth is they shouldn’t exist in the first place."

The appeal is just being made by the local London government at the moment, but London Assembly is keen for the national government to roll out the system across the whole country.

Ms. Twycross added: "Many of the solutions to tackling food insecurity lie in the hands of national Government.

"However, City Hall should also play its role and build the case for extending the provision for universal free school meals."

Last year it was revealed that pupils eligible for the benefit are losing out on £65million a year because unused allowances are being kept by the meal providers.

In a pupil-led investigation by schools and charity Citizens UK, it found that if the student on free school meals does not use all their allowance in the day, their credit is deducted and retained by the company.

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