Food Foundation welcomes London-wide Free School Meals plan

Free School Meals

Food Foundation welcomes London-wide Free School Meals plan 

The Food Foundation welcomes today's commitment from London's Labour mayor Sadiq Khan to provide Free School Meals for all primary school children across the city for the next year to help families with the cost of living crisis. 

The decision is one response to the Feed the Future campaign led by The Food Foundation in partnership with seven other organisations, which calls on central government to provide Free School Meals for the 800,000 children across England living in poverty, who are still not eligible.

The mayor’s announcement will involve a one-off emergency fund of £130 million and will help an additional 270,000 London primary school children for the 2023/2024 academic year. 

Universal Free School Meal entitlement at primary level is being rolled out in Scotland and Wales following commitments from the devolved governments, but in England the national eligibility threshold remains set at a household income of below £,7,400 (after tax, excluding benefits).  

“We welcome the timely and decisive leadership shown by Labour’s London Mayor to protect families from the soaring cost of living," said Anna Taylor Executive Director of The Food Foundation.  

“This initiative at last recognises the crucial importance of Free School Meals in safeguarding children’s diets, health and learning. 

“It is a huge step forward for our Feed the Future campaign calling on policy leaders to extend Free School Meals to more children, which has received huge cross-party and public support. 

“Struggling families across the capital will be breathing a huge sigh of relief thanks to today’s news, knowing that their children will be guaranteed a hot nutritious school meal every day, regardless of their background.  

“However, we mustn’t forget the hundreds of thousands of children outside the capital who are living below the poverty line but don’t qualify for the Free School Meals.

"Without action from central Government, there remains an unjust postcode lottery when it comes to Free School Meal access. Government now has the opportunity to deliver on its levelling up promises by addressing the inequalities inherent in our Free School Meal system.  

“We need funding it the next budget that levels the playing field, so at the very least all children living in poverty across England are guaranteed a daily nutritious meal at school – not just as an emergency one-year measure but as an integral long-term provision in our state school system." 


To interview with Anna Taylor Please contact:     
Lois Rogers - The Food Foundation - call 0203 576 1045 or email

About Feed the Future
Feed the Future is a campaign led by a coalition of organisations including The Food Foundation, Bite Back 2030, School Food Matters, Child Poverty Action Group, Impact on Urban Health, Chefs in Schools, Jamie Oliver Ltd and Sustain. This coalition is making the case that Free School Meals should be extended to more children.

About the Food Foundation
The Food Foundation is a charity working to influence food policy and business practice, shaping a sustainable food system which makes healthy diets affordable and accessible for all. We work in partnership with researchers, campaigners, community bodies, industry, investors, government and citizens to galvanise the UK’s diverse agents of change, using surprising and inventive ideas to drive fundamental shifts in our food system. These efforts are based on the continual re-evaluation of opportunities for action, building and synthesising strong evidence, convening powerful coalitions, harnessing citizens’ voices and delivering impactful communications.        
Registered Charity Number 1187611. 

Twitter: @Food_Foundation
Hashtags: #FreeSchoolMeals#FSM#FeedtheFuture 

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