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Child Poverty Action Group report highlights benefits of universal free school meals

9th Feb 2024 - 07:00
Report highlights benefits of universal free school meals
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) joined forces with Greater Manchester Poverty Action to publish a report looking at free school meals in the North West of England.

According to the report 100,000 children in poverty who live in the North West of England do not qualify for free school meals (FSM). The report considers the socio-economic benefits, including the impact on children’s socio-economic rights, that support a nationwide universal roll out of FSM.

Kate Anstey, project lead on UK Cost of the School Day at Child Poverty Action Group, commented: “We are using this analysis to show how many children are missing out on a free school meal. But actually what we know from our wider research is that children across the board benefit from universal provision. So that means giving everyone a free school meal every day.

“Yes there are benefits for all children but it disproportionately has positive benefits for those living on a low income. So we are talking about benefits in terms of children having that meal so they can concentrate more, children sitting down and socialising together and children enjoying the same food at the same time [as well as] children having less stress and worry about food.

“There are also implications families as well. When there is universal provision in place there is less worry about budgets and parents have one less thing to worry about in the school day. So we are calling for universal provision that is good for all children but has that really significant impact on those living on a low income.”


Written by
Edward Waddell