The Children's Society's response to the school food plan
Matthew Reed, our Chief Executive, said:
'It is very welcome the plan recognises that 700,000 children from very low income working families are not allowed free school meals and cannot afford to pay for them. The School Food Plan makes a watershed recommendation, that the government seriously considers extending entitlement to free meals so these children do not keep missing out.
'We urge the government to use its planned consultation on the future of free school meals to make sure no child in poverty misses out - including those in low–income working families who sometimes go hungry.
'If the government is serious in its claim of wanting every child to get a nutritious meal to boost their learning, it is crucial they put plans in place to provide a free school meal for every child in poverty.
'This would be an important step forward in the fight against child poverty and to increase take up of school food. Around three quarters of children registered for free school meals take them up, compared to around a third of children who are paying for their lunches.'
For more information, please call Beth Herzfeld in The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422, 07775 812 357 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.
Notes to editors
- Over half of the 2.2 million school children living in poverty miss out on a free school meal – 700,000 are not even entitled to one despite their need because their parents work. See our Fair and Square campaign for more information.
- 3.5 million children in the UK are living in poverty.
- Six in 10 children living in poverty are in low-income working families.
- The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.