London Mayor Sadiq Khan will announce a bold emergency package that will provide free school meals to every primary school child in London for one year in order to assist poor families in overcoming the cost of living crisis.
Sadiq Khan’s £130 million scheme will provide funding for the 270,000 state primary school children in London who do not already receive free school meals, an estimated 100,000 of whom are poor.
It is a significant victory for our School Hunger Special Investigation, in which we highlighted the plight of the 210,000 primary and secondary students in London who live in universal credit households but do not qualify for free school meals because their household income, excluding benefits, exceeds the £7,400 annual threshold.
The Mayor, who has repeatedly urged the government to extend free school meals to all low-income children, stated that his scheme will be funded by higher-than-expected business rates and council tax collections and will be limited to the 2023/2024 academic year.
Mr Khan harshly criticised the government for its “inaction” and stated that it will be up to the government to intervene after that time.
The Mayor’s proposal is included in his final budget, which will be considered by the London Assembly on February 23.