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Free School Meals

Volume 503: debated on Monday 11 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of widening access to free school meals for children of low-income parents in 2009-10. (309727)

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department of Health (DH) have jointly allocated £10 million in 2009-10 to fund three free school meal pilots, £5 million from the DCSF and £5 million from the DH. Participating local authorities and primary care trusts are contributing the same in matched funding.

The aim of the pilot is to gather some robust evidence on the health and educational benefits of extending access to free school meals. Durham and Newham are piloting universal free school meals for all primary pupils. Wolverhampton is piloting extended eligibility to primary and secondary pupils whose parents are on working tax credit and have an income up to £16,040.