No such thing as a free lunch? | CPAG

No such thing as a free lunch?

Published on: 
22 September 2015
Written by: 

Jessica Sinclair Taylor
Former senior communications and campaigns officer

UPDATE 29 September: Good news, it looks like the government has seen sense on free school meals. David Cameron's spokesperson said today that the government was committed to it's manifesto pledge to continue universal free school meals. Thank you to everyone who signed the petition!


A mere two years ago, the government introduced universal free school meals for infants. We were delighted at the time - and said so.

Evidence from pilot projects showed that while all children benefit from free school meals, low-income children benefit the most. Nutritional intake improved dramatically and academically children at these schools quickly moved ahead of their peers elsewhere, by almost a term. Free school meals improves all children's diet and saves parents £400 a year, taking the pressure off severely strained family finances.

Now, despite having given schools over £175m to improve their kitchens, and encouraged the school workforce to make substantial changes to put it all in place, newspapers are reporting that the government is considering axing universal infant free school meals. A petition has gone up calling on the government to maintain this policy - please join us in signing it if you agree with us that universal free school meals should stay.