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Food Foundation welcomes Liberal Democrat free school meal pledge

11th Jun 2024 - 08:36
Food Foundation welcomes Liberal Democrat’s free school meal pledge
The Food Foundation has welcomed the Liberal Democrat manifesto, which includes a pledge to extend free school meals to all primary schoolchildren funded by a new share buyback tax.

The Liberal Democrats plan to immediately extension of free school meals to all 900,000 children living in poverty who currently miss out. The second phase would see all primary schoolchildren receiving free school meals as the public finances stabilise.

Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation, said: “The commitment to expand free school meals to all children in poverty, and eventually to all primary school children in England is so welcome. This is a policy that already exists in London and is being rolled out in Wales and Scotland. Similarly, the commitment to scrap the two-child limit, and ensure that universal credit increases in line with food and bills are essential policies to tackle food insecurity.

“We welcome the fact that the Liberal Democrat manifesto covers many of the areas of our food system that desperately need to change if we are to end food insecurity and improve people’s health. The commitment to a National Food Strategy shows an understanding that our food system needs to be examined holistically if we are to tackle food related ill-health and improve food security. 

“It is good to see the Liberal Democrats wanting to build on the success of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, but they could go further in expanding the levy to unhealthy foods, and in turn, any revenue raised could be used to improve access to nutritious foods for low income families.”

The Food Foundation also praised the Labour Party’s plans to ban energy drinks for those who are under 16-years-old.

Taylor added: “It is encouraging to see politicians acknowledging that if we want to save our NHS, we have to stem the tide of unhealthy food and drink which has flooded supermarkets, high streets and food delivery apps. 

“Labour’s plans include restricting the sale of energy drinks and empowering councils to prevent fast food outlets near schools - both could be important steps in the first 100 days of a new Government. We hope that all parties will be announcing further comprehensive measures to prevent both food related ill health and end the scourge of child hunger in our society.” 

Written by
Edward Waddell