Bishop of Chelmsford asks about extending access to free school meals

The Bishop of Chelmsford asked a question on extending free school meals to all children from families in receipt of universal credit on 13th December 2022, during a debate on free school meals funding and decision making power:

The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, building on the question the noble Lord has just asked, research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that out of 3.9 million children living in relative poverty in the UK, only 2.3 million receive free school meals. Can the Minister say whether the Government intend to extend free school meals to all children from families receiving universal credit?

Baroness Barran (Con): As I said in answer to an earlier question, the percentage of children receiving free school meals is at an all-time high. If one takes benefit-related free school meals and universal infant free school meals, over one-third of all pupils in this country—37.5% of pupils in state-funded schools—receive free school meals. The Government keep this policy under review at all times, but there are no current plans to extend free school meals to all those receiving universal credit.


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