You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

All primary school children in London to get free school meals

Written by: Emma Lunn
The Mayor of London has announced that all primary school pupils in the capital will get free school meals in the 2023/24 academic year.

Sadiq Khan’s proposal will provide a one-off £130m to help about 270,000 primary school children and save families in London around £440 per child across the year.

The Mayor says he is stepping in to support families struggling with the spiralling cost of living.

Khan has repeatedly called on the government to make the meals available to all children, as research has shown that hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren live in poverty but don’t receive free school meals due to the government’s restrictive eligibility criteria and lack of universal provision.

Currently a household on Universal Credit must earn less than £7,400 a year (after tax and not including benefits), regardless of the number of children in the family, to be eligible. This means that many children from working families in poverty aren’t entitled to free school meals.

The Mayor has now proposed a plan to make the meals available – on a universal basis – to all of the capital’s primary schoolchildren for one full school year.

Khan said that as well as saving families hundreds of pounds per child, making free school meals available to all will help reduce the stigma that can be associated with being singled out as low income.

Children have gone without food

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “The cost-of-living crisis means families and children across our city are in desperate need of additional support. I have repeatedly urged the government to provide free school meals to help already stretched families, but they have simply failed to act.

“This is why I’m stepping forward with an emergency £130m scheme that will ensure every single primary pupil in the capital receives free school meals. This will save families hundreds of pounds over the year, ensuring parents aren’t worrying about how they’re going to feed their children. It will also guarantee every primary school student a healthy, nutritious meal – meaning they don’t go hungry in the classroom and can better concentrate on their studies.

Victoria Benson, chief executive of single parent charity Gingerbread, said: “The cost-of-living crisis has been brutal for single parents and has meant that children have gone without basic essentials because household budgets have been stretched beyond breaking point.

“We have heard from so many single parents that they have simply been unable to afford the huge price increases which we have seen over the past year with the result that many of them, or their children, have had to go without food. It will be a huge relief to many parents that their child will now be fed at school and we welcome the Mayor’s free school meals initiative and hope it will mean fewer children in London will experience hunger.”

The Food Foundation has called for the scheme to be extended across the country, while the Children’s Food Campaign has called for the scheme to be permanent, rather than running for just one year.

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Everything you wanted to know about ISAs…but were afraid to ask

The new tax year is less than a fortnight away and for ISA savers or investors, it’s hugely important. If yo...

Your right to a refund if travel is affected by train strikes

There have been a wave of train strikes in the past six months, and for anyone travelling today Friday 3 Febru...

Could you save money with a social broadband tariff?

Two-thirds of low-income households are unaware they could be saving on broadband, according to Uswitch.

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

DIY investors: 10 common mistakes to avoid

For those without the help and experience of an adviser, here are 10 common DIY investor mistakes to avoid.

Mortgage down-valuations: Tips to avoid pulling out of a house sale

Down-valuations are on the rise. So, what does it mean for home buyers, and what can you do?

Five tips for surviving a bear market mauling

The S&P 500 has slipped into bear market territory and for UK investors, the FTSE 250 is also on the edge. Her...

Money Tips of the Week