Free School Meals September 2015

Thank you for contacting me regarding the proposal to scrap free school meals.

I share your concerns about this issue. I have spoken to several Nottingham North Primary School heads who are as anxious as I am about this proposal to scrap school dinners. To read their views on this click here:

They have, at their own cost, installed new kitchens to deliver this scheme. Yet before it can be properly evaluated for its impact on pupil’s performance at school, they are shutting the door. The Conservatives never liked this scheme - we all know that - but schools have gone to a huge amount of trouble and effort to deliver it. This will be a slap in the face for them and for the hard-pressed families it supports in low income areas like ours.

Labour is committed to provide every child with nutritious meals regardless of their background and that is why the previous Labour government piloted this scheme across the country. It is therefore real shame to see the Conservative Government considering the cut despite pledging to continue the policy in the 2015 Conservative manifesto. This decision also underlines how little the government is protecting the education budget which is vital for the future success of our children and our country.

This comes at a time the government is cutting tax credits for working families. This decision will see 5,000 local families in Nottingham North lose an average of £1,000 a year and directly increase levels of poverty in Britain.

There is a very real risk that scrapping free school meals combined with tax credit cuts could see millions of children going hungry as a result of this decision. This means a real threat for their health and academic performance.

I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely and I thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.