Iceland boss backs Feed the Future campaign to extend free school meals

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The head of supermarket chain Iceland has called out Sage Sunak to give free school meals to vulnerable children as a “grave priority”.

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In partnership with Food Foundations and a coalition of organizations, the retailer is supporting our Feed the Future campaign, calling on the Prime Minister to provide free school meals to the 800,000 children in England who live in homes on universal credit – but are ineligible because their household income, excluding benefits, exceeds £7,400 per year.

Richard Walker on BBC Radio 4’s . toldtoday program that “leveling up begins with the youngest.”

He said: “If our country is to be successful in the long run, we need to make sure that we have a healthy, engaged, focused, happy school population that has good prospects and has access to the most vulnerable children. to include.”

Walker, who currently sits on the prime minister’s business council, said he would like to see free school meals as a priority for the government.

“It is paramount to invest in young children’s ability to focus and learn so they are not sleeping because they are hungry at school,” he said.

Seventy-two percent of the public in England support the expansion of free school meals to all children on universal credit, according to a survey by YouGov.

This potentially low limit applies regardless of the number of children in the family and is causing real hardship among families grappling with a cost of living crisis.

The 800,000 children who are denied free school meals make up 30 percent of all school-aged children living in poverty. Currently, 1.9 million children in England are entitled to a free school meal (costing the government £2.47 per meal), which includes all students from reception to Year 2, but restrictive limits apply beyond that.

Other organizations that have signed up for the Feed the Future campaign include School Food Matters, Chefs in Schools, Bite Back 2030, Sustain, Child Poverty Action Group, Impact on Urban Health, National Education Union and Jamie Oliver Ltd.

Adults who had free school meals as a child have also shared where they are today as part of our social media spinoff #FreeMadeMe.

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