Bishop of Durham – all children in poverty should have free school meals

Durham161117On 26nd February 2018, Baroness Benjamin asked Her Majesty’s Government ‘what plans they have for publicising a detailed evaluation of stage one of the National Child Obesity Strategy; and when a publication timetable for stage two will be produced’. The Bishop of Durham, the Rt Revd Paul Butler, asked a follow up question about free school meals.

The Lord Bishop of Durham:
My Lords, the relationship between childhood obesity and poverty is well evidenced. In the light of warnings by the Children’s Society and others that 1 million children in poverty will miss out on a free school meal under the current proposals for changes to entitlement under universal credit, does the Minister agree that all children in poverty should receive a free school meal to combat child malnutrition by ensuring that they receive a healthy meal at lunchtime?

Lord O’Shaughnessy: We have a free school meal policy in this country. Indeed, the previous Government introduced free school meals for all children up to the age of seven, I believe, so we have made a significant impact in this area. I talked about breakfast clubs, which will also help, particularly disadvantaged children.