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Maintain free school meals

Last updated 1 month ago

Children should grow up in an environment with no limits to their potential – which is one of the reasons we are [...] maintaining our commitment to free school meals.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2019, p.17

Our verdict

  • Free school meals are currently provided to all children in reception class, year 1 and year 2 of government-funded schools, as well as to older children whose parents are in receipt of qualifying benefits or support. This is a promise to maintain that level of provision.
  • Following a campaign by a high-profile footballer, the government agreed to provide free school meals to qualifying children over the 2020 summer holidays to help families deal with the impact of the coronavirus, and also temporarily extended eligibility to include certain groups who are unable to access benefits.
  • Since then, a House of Commons debate on 21 October 2020 ended in a vote against funding continued provision of free school meals during school holidays until Easter 2021, but free school meals provision is being maintained under the formula in place prior to the election, so this policy is ‘done’.

There's always room for debate

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