Free school meals

A recent report has recommended that primary schools should provide universal free school meals:

We have also recommended that free school meals should be extended to all primary school children, starting with the most deprived areas. This is the only one of our recommendations that the government has not agreed to yet. We understand that the considerable cost and the need to involve other departments make it a big ask. But we are pleased that the Secretary of State agrees with us in principle and we would urge schools and councils to consider funding universal free school meals themselves.

As Kate Bell of the Child Poverty Action Group puts the argument:

Universal free school meals – already adopted by several local authorities – would not only remove a continued source of stigma for poor children, but would also improve work incentives and increase educational attainment. [note]Kate Bell, ‘Investing in childhood’, Fabian Review, vol. 125, no.2, Summer 2013, p.19[/note]

We were pleased to see the Government’s announcement of free school meals for children in school years 1, 2 and 3. The same arguments that have been made for free school meals would apply to a Citizen’s Income, and we look forward to the Government giving serious consideration to the implementation of a Citizen’s Income sooner rather than later.