Budget 2021

3 March 2021
How did the Chancellor’s Budget announcement compare to what we wanted to see?

After Coronavirus saw the Autumn 2020’s budget deferred, this week we got to hear the Chancellor’s plans for 2021. In Chancellor Rishi Sunak's statement, there were a number of things we would have liked to see. We made a submission to the Treasury in January with five key recommendations:

  1. Maintain Universal Infant Free School Meals

  2. Expand eligibility for free school meals to include children from all families receiving Universal Credit and children with no recourse to public funds

  3. Establish auto-enrolment for families eligible for FSM

  4. Maintain and extend the Soft Drinks Industry Levy to drive investment in children’s healthy food

  5. Expand the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme to all primary school children

It is regrettable to have not heard any of these points addressed. We are also supporting Magic Breakfast’s call to extend the National Schools Breakfast Programme, which went unmentioned.

While we are happy to see the £20 Universal Credit uplift extended for at least another six months, which will provide some relief to the most vulnerable families, it is disappointing that there were no signs of new money for school food. At least universal infant free school meals are safe - for now!