Prime Minister David Cameron under fire after ending free school meals fund worth £32 million

The Tories have been slammed after ending a free school meals fund worth £32 million

free school dinners fund

by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

The fund, which had been put in place to ensure all pupils had a free hot meal every day, gave nearly 3,000 infant schools special cash grants of around £2,000 to £3,000.

But the Tories have now quietly put an end to the scheme, meaning that the schools - all of whom have fewer than 150 pupils - will now have to fund the money elsewhere.

This will prove to be very difficult, as the schools, due to their smaller size, are unable to buy food in bulk qualities.

The decision to scrap the fund comes shortly after PM David Cameron vowed to keep universal infants’s school meals.

He said at the time: "I am proud of what we have done, and we will be keeping it."

Unsurprisingly, the Prime Minister has been slammed for going against his word.

free school dinners fund

Shadow Children's Minister Sharon Hodgson told The Mirror: “[David Cameron’s] government is undermining his own pledge to hard-working parents and their children, who were promised a healthy and nutritious meal at school to help them learn.

"School budgets are already under a lot of pressure with rising costs and shrinking budgets. Small schools are often especially hard pressed.

"The Prime Minister should act to ensure the education of children, and the financial viability of small schools is not at risk."

A Department for Education spokesman said: “To help small schools with the transition to universal infant free school meals, we paid them an extra £32.5million over two years – over and above the £600million we have spent on the policy as a whole so far.

“We have always been clear that this funding was always intended to be temporary to help small schools to put their meals service on a more sustainable footing.

“We know that schools around the country used the funding to rise to the challenge and are providing hot meals to infants at lunchtime, something that has been proven to aid concentration and attainment and is part of our drive for educational excellence everywhere.”

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