More than 9000 school kids in Newcastle could lose free school meals under Tory plans warn Newcastle Lib Dems

September 29, 2015 10:26 AM

Thousands of children in Newcastle could lose their right to a free school meal under Conservative plans to review the scheme.

Universal free school meals offer every infant child a healthy meal at lunchtime, which saves families more than £400 per child per year.

Evidence shows where children have been given a free school dinner, their results improved compared to youngsters who didn't get one.

These academic improvements were most marked among children from the poorest backgrounds.

There are currently 9121 children who receive free school meals in Newcastle who would lose out if the Conservatives follow through with plans reported in the media recently.

Cllr Nick Cott, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for children and young people on Newcastle City Council said :

"If this goes ahead, the Tories will show they are willing to take an axe to the education budget at the expense of children's learning. By scrapping this policy they would take food off the plates of thousands children across Newcastle who now benefit from a free healthy meal at lunchtime."

"The Liberal Democrats fought tooth and nail to get this through in Coalition because we want every child to have the best possible start in life and be able to concentrate in class, and all the evidence shows that a healthy meal helps with that. Instead of further investing in our children, the Tories are turning up at the school gate and stealing their lunch money."

Notes on sources:

All evidence on the benefits of universal free school meals comes from the independent evaluation of the 2009 pilots:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/184047/DFE-RR227.pdf

The School Food Plan, written by independent school food reviewers Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, recommended introducing free school meals for all primary school children:

http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/plan/