Wales set for universal primary free school meals

22 November 2021
A new deal between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru includes plans to provide free school meals for all children in primary school.

The two Welsh parties have reached an agreement to work together in the Senedd. The deal covers a broad range of areas, and we are pleased to see universal primary free school meals announced as a flagship policy.

Of the UK nations, Wales has the highest proportion of children living in poverty who are ineligible for free school meals (FSM). Whilst there is universal provision of free primary school breakfasts in Wales, we know that lunch is a key opportunity to guarantee children receive nutritious food, as they will all already be in school.

Scotland has plans in place to provide FSM to all primary children by August 2022. This follows a staged rollout, with Primary 4 and 5 children becoming eligible in January 2022.

Universal free school breakfasts and lunches were proposed by the Scottish Conservatives last year and it’s time their English counterparts followed suit. As two of the four nations now move closer to universal provision, and Northern Ireland’s eligibility threshold is nearly twice as generous as England’s, there is some serious levelling up that needs to be done.