London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a £130m emergency scheme to provide every primary school child in the capital with a free school meal.
The package is designed to help families with the spiralling cost of living and will be applied in the next academic year and run for one full school year.
The move will help about 270,000 primary school children and save families about £440 per child across the year.
The funding is a one-off from additional business rates income. The mayor has made it clear that he is only able to provide help that should be coming from the Government for one year.
Mr Khan said: “The cost-of-living crisis means families and children across our city are in desperate need of additional support.
“I have repeatedly urged the Government to provide free school meals to help already stretched families, but they have simply failed to act.
“This is why I’m stepping forward with an emergency scheme that will ensure every single primary pupil in the capital receives free school meal.
“It will guarantee every primary school student a healthy, nutritious meal – meaning they don’t go hungry in the classroom and can better concentrate on their studies.”
Mr Khan – who received free school meals as a child – has repeatedly called on the Government to make the meals available to all as research has shown that hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren live in poverty but do not receive them due to the Government’s eligibility criteria and lack of universal provision.
Currently, a household on universal credit must earn less than £7,400 a year after tax and not including benefits, regardless of the number of children in the family, to be eligible.
Many children from working families in poverty aren’t entitled to free school meals.
Mr Khan made the announcement of the emergency funding today as he visited his old school Fircroft Primary in Fircroft Road, Tooting.
Pictured top: Sadiq Khan (Picture: PA)
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