On 14th March 2018, the Bishop of Durham, Rt Revd Paul Butler, received a response to a written question on school meals for children in poverty:
Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answers by Lord O’Shaughnessy on 26 February (HL Deb, cols 425–28), what measures they plan to take to ensure that all children living in poverty over the age of seven can receive a healthy meal at lunch time, as part of combatting child obesity and poor levels of nutrition.
Lord Agnew of Oulton: The School Food Standards regulate the food and drink provided at lunchtime and other times during the school day, including that available through breakfast clubs, tuck shops, mid-morning breaks, vending machines and after school clubs. The standards severely restrict the consumption of foods high in fat, salt and sugar, as well as low quality re-formed or re-constituted foods.
The continuing provision of free school meals (FSM) to children from households that are out of work or on low incomes is of the utmost importance to the government. FSM mean these children receive a healthy, nutritious meal, which their families may not otherwise be able to afford, and help to ensure they are well nourished, develop healthy eating habits, and can concentrate and learn in school. The department’s new criteria for FSM eligibility, will increase the number of children eligible for this vital benefit.