Government U-turn on cutting universal infant free school meals on the cards

Food campaigners are cautiously celebrating press reports that the Conservative election pledge to cut Universal Infant Free School Meals appears to have been dropped. Read more for Sustain's response

15/06/2017
Children's Food Campaign

 

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Ben Reynolds, Deputy Chief Executive of Sustain, commented on the reports in the Sun:

"After a hard month of campaigning by a whole host of food and childrens' charities, caterers, chefs and celebrities, reports from the Conservative party would suggest that they have given up on pushing this unpopular policy through. This will be welcomed by parents across the land, particularly the hundreds of thousands who are struggling and whose children are not otherwise eligible for free school meals. The vast amount of support that has come out for school meals during the election shows that politicians should sit up and realise that good food matters to people and is a vote winner. Moreover that politicians should be putting food policy higher up their agendas as something that they have the power to influence for the benefit of people's health, the economy, and our environment."

The Conservative party had pledged to cut Universal Infant Free School Meals and replace it with a free breakfast. The policy polled in independent surveying as the least popular manifesto proposal during the election, the support for which had dropped further to 12% by the last week of the election.

This apparent U-turn comes on the 10th anniversary celebrations of the charity School Food Matters, a member of Sustain, bringing together hundreds of school children for a celebratory picnic and record breaking attempt at the largest simultaneous carrot crunch.

Ben Reynolds, who is also a trustee of School Food Matters, continued. "This couldn't be better timing. I can't wait to tell those children gathered that through their hard work in making videos and making their voices heard, and the voices of their parents, teachers and school cooks over the last month it sent out a really strong message. Don't mess with our meals!"

For press enquiries please contact Ben Reynolds on 02070650902

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Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.

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Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.