Sadiq Khan announces free school meals for all primary schoolchildren in London

Image above: primary schoolchildren receiving meals; library image

Scheme will benefit 270,000 children

Free school meals will be offered to all primary school pupils across London for a year under plans by Sadiq Khan to tackle what he said was a failure by ministers to step up support during the cost of living crisis.

The move will come into force from September, saving families about £440 for every child and benefiting 270,000 children, City Hall estimates.

The mayor, who himself received free school meals as a boy, said he hoped the move would help “reduce the stigma that can be associated with being singled out as low-income” and boost take-up among families who needed the help most.

The mayor’s office said the scheme, which will run during term-time only for the length of the academic year, would be paid for by “one-off funding from additional business rates income”.

A spokesperson said funding for the project was made possible because Council Tax and business rates returns from the capital’s local authorities were higher than originally forecast in the mayor’s draft budget proposals.

Mr Khan announced the plans during a visit to his old school, Fircroft Primary in Tooting, south-west London.

Image above: Sadiq Khan

Cost of living has left families in “desperate need” – Sadiq Khan

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“The cost of living crisis means families and children across our city are in desperate need of additional support. I have repeatedly urged the Government to provide free school meals to help already stretched families, but they have simply failed to act.

“This is why I’m stepping forward with an emergency £130m scheme that will ensure every single primary pupil in the capital receives free school meals. This will save families hundreds of pounds over the year, ensuring parents aren’t worrying about how they’re going to feed their children.

“It will also guarantee every primary school student a healthy, nutritious meal – meaning they don’t go hungry in the classroom and can better concentrate on their studies.

“I know from personal experience that free school meals are a lifeline. My siblings and I depended on them to eat while at school and my parents relied on them to give our family a little extra breathing room financially. The difference they can make to children who are at risk of going hungry – and to families who are struggling to make ends meet – is truly game-changing.

“Supporting London’s families through this cost of living crisis and helping ensure our children are properly fed is vital as we continue striving to build a better London for everyone – a city that is fairer, safer and more prosperous for all.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Iran International TV suspends broadcasting from Chiswick studios as Counter Terrorism police advise move to ‘more secure location’

See also: Another person dies at Turnham Green station after being hit by train

See all the latest stories: Chiswick Calendar News & Features

Support The Chiswick Calendar

The Chiswick Calendar CIC is a community resource. Please support us by buying us the equivalent of a monthly cup of coffee (or more, if you insist). Click here to support us.

We publish a weekly newsletter and update the website with local news and information daily. We are editorially independent.

To subscribe to the weekly newsletter, go here.