Free school meals for infants protected in law

23 January 2014

Commenting on the government’s plans to enshrine in law its policy of providing free school meals to all infant school pupils, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

'This is a really welcome step from the government. We were delighted when the government announced the policy for infant school children in September, meaning an extra 200,000 children living in poverty will get the benefit of at least one hot nutritious meal each school day.

'Today’s announcement that this will be enshrined in law helps protect this benefit for future generations. And we think this legal duty is a great foundation for the government to build on its achievement and extend free school meals to the 500,000 older children living in poverty who won’t get a free meal.'

Media enquiries

For more information, please call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or email. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

  • Currently 700,000 children are not entitled to a free school meal despite their need because their parents work. Today’s announcement will cut this number by 200,000.
  • See our Fair and Square campaign for more information.
  • 3.5 million children in the UK are living in poverty. 
  • In February, The Children’s Society and 38 Degrees handed in The Fair and Square petition of 90,000 signatures calling for the government to make free school meals available to all children living in poverty.
  • Six in 10 children living in poverty are in low-income working families.