Public health experts call for school food for all

9 October 2023
Dozens of public health experts have written to Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, calling on them to commit to free school meals for all.

Experts ranging from the President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to the CEO of the NHS Confederation have signed two letters: one to the prime minister and one to the leader of the opposition. They write to urge the politicians to ‘extend Free School Meals to all school children, phased in by extending Free School Meals to children from households on Universal Credit as a first step.’

The letters emphasise the benefits of a great school food system to health, equality, and the economy. They also include the recent findings of Public First, in research commissioned by the School Food Review, which show that around seven in ten voters support this call for extension.

Political leaders are away from Westminster for party conferences, taking the opportunity to lay out their offers to the nation. Conservatives are using the strapline ‘long-term decisions for a brighter future’, while Labour wants to ‘get Britain’s future back’. It’s clear both parties want to give an impression of committed and forward-thinking policymaking. If they’re truly about the nation’s future, surely the first place to look is to its children.

Any politician serious about their nation’s future will want to maximise the benefits that brilliant school food can bring. Few investments can realise returns as wide-reaching as this one: improving health, narrowing inequalities, and boosting our economy. Delicious and nutritious school food, properly funded for all: it’s a no-brainer.


You can read the letter to Rishi Sunak here, and the letter to Keir Starmer here.