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Free School Meals

Volume 474: debated on Thursday 24 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of providing school dinners free of charge to all pupils in (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools; (201041)

(2) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of extending entitlement to free school meals to all pupils (a) in primary schools, (b) in secondary schools and (c) aged four to 18 years.

The Department estimates that the cost of providing school meals free of charge to all pupils in (a) primary schools is approximately £1.2 billion, and (b) secondary schools is approximately £1 billion. The primary figure includes pupils aged four. Therefore, for pupils in schools aged 4-18 in schools, we estimate the cost to be £2.2 billion.