“We are deeply disappointed that the government’s food strategy does not take up the recommendation of Henry Dimbleby’s review to expand the eligibility for free school meals to all children from households in receipt of Universal Credit.
“The proportion of children eligible for free school meals in England currently stands at 22.5 per cent – itself a shocking reflection of the extremely difficult circumstances facing many families. However, we know that child poverty is actually much higher at around 30 per cent. So, it is clear that a large number of children are missing out on the important provision of a free school meal.
“Besides the strong moral imperative to extend eligibility there is also an educational need as children are more likely to learn effectively if they have the basics of good nutritional food. The government must act on this issue and do the right thing for these young people.”