This briefing from UK NGO Sustain argues that the UK government should extend universal free school meals beyond the first three years of primary school. After the first three years, only children whose families receive certain benefits qualify for free school meals. Currently, many children who live in poverty are not eligible to receive free school meals, e.g. because their families are not allowed to access public funds due to their immigration status or because of 2018 changes to the earnings threshold that determines eligibility.
The report recommends:
- Extending the provision of universal free school meals.
- Expanding the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme to all primary school children and all countries in the UK, with some of the fruit and vegetables being produced in the UK, seasonal and agroecologically produced (e.g. organic). This would be paid for with funds from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy.
- Work towards reducing household food insecurity by incorporating the right to food into legislation.