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Government may scrap free school meals for infants

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The Conservative party is considering scrapping free school meals for all infants in school.

Spending review

Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg first introduced the policy in the last coalition government and the Tories committed to it in their 2015 election manifesto. However, Sky News reports that Chancellor George Osborne is considering a back track as he works out his November spending review.

Costs

The Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) scheme is believed to cost the government between £600million and £800million per year. It allows all children in Reception, Year One and Year Two a free hot meal every day, saving their parents around £400 a year.

The National Union of Head Teachers is calling for a guarantee that UIFSM will continue, while Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef who campaigned for greater nutrition in school meals, said “it would be a disaster” if the scheme was scrapped.

Opportunities

The government has not yet ruled out the move but a spokesperson told Sky News: “We believe that every child, regardless of their background, should have the same opportunities. That is at the heart of what we are doing with school food – no child should be hindered because they are not eating a nutritious meal at lunchtime.”

Value for money

However, some are arguing that the policy is wasting money that could be better spent elsewhere. Jonathan Simons from think tank Policy Exchange commented: “The principle of have a hot school lunch is a good one, but the question really is one of value for money. Is it the best use of £800m a year to pay for free school meals for all children, regardless of their parental wealth?”

 

 

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One Response to “Government may scrap free school meals for infants”

  1. Nikki

    I think the government should be paying for the children of this country. Who will one day run this country. I believe the money is better spent of free school meals for childrent than being sent away from the country on other things. As a working 2 parent household living just above the breadline these free school meals are a good send and a great saving for us.

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