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School Meals

Volume 827: debated on Friday 3 December 1971

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many children are eligible for free school dinners; and how many have claimed, as a proportion of those eligible, for each year since 1964.

There is no way of knowing or estimating with reasonable certainty the number of children who qualify for free school dinners but whose parents do not claim them.A 1966 survey of families with two or more children indicated that about 50 per cent. of the children of families with income at or below national assistance level were receiving free school dinners. By 1969, this proportion had increased to about 80 per cent. and was probably somewhat higher in 1970. The following information is available about the number of free school meals served in each year since 1964.

Free Meals ProvidedFree Meals as percentage of pupils presentFree Meals as percentage of Total Meals
Year(thousands)per cent.per cent.
1971 (May)7639·918·3
1971 (October)80510·317·3
*Included free meal to fourth and subsequent children irrespective of family income.