Jenny Willott MP and Eluned Parrott AM launch free school meals petition

October 25, 2013 5:46 PM

JW&EP

As part of their campaign for the introduction of free school meals in Wales, Jenny Willott, MP for Cardiff Central and Eluned Parrott AM for South Wales Central have launched a petition calling on the Welsh Labour Government to introduce a free hot lunch scheme for all children in reception, year 1 and year 2.

Liberal Democrats in Government in England have recently announced that all five-to-seven year-old pupils in state schools will receive a free school meal at lunchtime.

A number of studies have shown that hunger affects concentration, and that children who are well nourished perform better at school. Pilots in England revealed that students in the pilot areas were on average two months ahead of their peers elsewhere.

Commenting, Jenny Willott MP said:

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats are determined to see universal free school meals for infants become a reality in Wales.

"The Welsh Labour Government is refusing to introduce free school meals for all infants. We have launched this petition as we want to demonstrate the strength of feeling on this.

"Our free school meals policy would help reduce health inequalities that exist due to poor diet. It would also help improve concentration and boost educational attainment.

Eluned Parrott AM added:

"Over the course of a year families spend on average £400 on school meals per child. We are determined to do all we can to help put money back in the pockets of these families. This policy will do exactly that.

"Universal free school meals will help give every child the start in life that they deserve, building a stronger economy and fairer society. Under our policy an extra 80,500 infants would receive a free school meal at lunchtime.

"I am pleased that Liberal Democrats are introducing free school meals in England, but what about Welsh families and pupils? The Welsh Labour Government cannot hide from this."

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