Research shows public support for increasing school meals provision

17 March 2021
Research from think tank Demos has revealed that people want the Government to provide free school meals (FSM) during school holidays after the pandemic. People also support universal FSM (UFSM).

Cross-party think tank Demos has today published their report Food In A Pandemic, supported by the Food Standards Agency. They have researched the food psychology, insecurity, supply and diet in the UK.

89% of those asked support a child’s right to food and three quarters of people asked agree that ‘parents are responsible for feeding their children but government must step in for children whose parents are unable to do so’. A majority also agree that hunger is the government’s responsibility.

59% of respondents support free school meals continuing during school holidays after the pandemic and just over half of people asked support UFSM to reduce stigma for poorer pupils. FSM across all holidays have been called for by the Labour Party. UFSM have now been introduced in primary schools in four London boroughs and the SNP and Scottish Greens have committed to implementing the policy across Scotland from 2022, if elected this May.

The research also finds that young people are more likely to have negative relationships with food and those in receipt of benefits are 2.5 times more likely than others to see food as an ‘annoying necessity’.

This report adds to the overwhelming pile of research exposing food insecurity in our country, which has been worsened and further exposed during the pandemic. As it contributes even more evidence that the public support greater school food interventions, it is time the Government commits to reviewing its school food policies.