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Written Question
Free School Meals: Finance
Friday 27th May 2022

Asked by: Catherine West (Labour - Hornsey and Wood Green)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the cash for free school meals in primary schools, priced at £2.34 per meal.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

Through the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Under this government, eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant FSM, and further education FSM.

In addition, the temporary extension of FSM eligibility to some groups with no recourse to public funds that has been in place since 2020 was extended to all groups and made permanent, subject to income thresholds.

The department thinks it is right that provision is aimed at supporting the most disadvantaged, those out of work or on the lowest income. We will continue to keep all FSM eligibility under review, to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

The department encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools.

It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the School Food Standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. The department is confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the School Food Standards. In recognition of cost pressures, after the National Funding Formula rates were set, we received additional funding from Her Majesty’s Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by 2.5 billion in 2022/23, compared to last year.

The department holds regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies. We also spend around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy, and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal policy in 2014. The per meal rate of £2.34 per child was increased in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.


Written Question
Free School Meals
Friday 27th May 2022

Asked by: Catherine West (Labour - Hornsey and Wood Green)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the impact of reducing free school meal portions on the development of school children.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

Through the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Under this government, eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant FSM, and further education FSM.

In addition, the temporary extension of FSM eligibility to some groups with no recourse to public funds that has been in place since 2020 was extended to all groups and made permanent, subject to income thresholds.

The department thinks it is right that provision is aimed at supporting the most disadvantaged, those out of work or on the lowest income. We will continue to keep all FSM eligibility under review, to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

The department encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools.

It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the School Food Standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. The department is confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the School Food Standards. In recognition of cost pressures, after the National Funding Formula rates were set, we received additional funding from Her Majesty’s Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by 2.5 billion in 2022/23, compared to last year.

The department holds regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies. We also spend around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy, and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal policy in 2014. The per meal rate of £2.34 per child was increased in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.


Written Question
Free School Meals
Friday 27th May 2022

Asked by: Catherine West (Labour - Hornsey and Wood Green)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has plans to amend the eligibility criteria for free school meals in the context of the increases in the cost of living.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

Through the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Under this government, eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant FSM, and further education FSM.

In addition, the temporary extension of FSM eligibility to some groups with no recourse to public funds that has been in place since 2020 was extended to all groups and made permanent, subject to income thresholds.

The department thinks it is right that provision is aimed at supporting the most disadvantaged, those out of work or on the lowest income. We will continue to keep all FSM eligibility under review, to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

The department encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools.

It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the School Food Standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. The department is confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the School Food Standards. In recognition of cost pressures, after the National Funding Formula rates were set, we received additional funding from Her Majesty’s Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by 2.5 billion in 2022/23, compared to last year.

The department holds regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies. We also spend around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy, and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal policy in 2014. The per meal rate of £2.34 per child was increased in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.


Written Question
School Meals: Finance
Friday 27th May 2022

Asked by: Catherine West (Labour - Hornsey and Wood Green)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with schools in England on the impact of inflation on the (a) size and (b) quality of school meals.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

Through the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Under this government, eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant FSM, and further education FSM.

In addition, the temporary extension of FSM eligibility to some groups with no recourse to public funds that has been in place since 2020 was extended to all groups and made permanent, subject to income thresholds.

The department thinks it is right that provision is aimed at supporting the most disadvantaged, those out of work or on the lowest income. We will continue to keep all FSM eligibility under review, to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

The department encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools.

It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the School Food Standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. The department is confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the School Food Standards. In recognition of cost pressures, after the National Funding Formula rates were set, we received additional funding from Her Majesty’s Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by 2.5 billion in 2022/23, compared to last year.

The department holds regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies. We also spend around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy, and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal policy in 2014. The per meal rate of £2.34 per child was increased in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.


Written Question
Primary Education: Free School Meals
Friday 27th May 2022

Asked by: Catherine West (Labour - Hornsey and Wood Green)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason funding for free school meals for all children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 has not increased in line with inflation since that scheme was introduced in 2014.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

Through the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom. Under this government, eligibility for free school meals (FSM) has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant FSM, and further education FSM.

In addition, the temporary extension of FSM eligibility to some groups with no recourse to public funds that has been in place since 2020 was extended to all groups and made permanent, subject to income thresholds.

The department thinks it is right that provision is aimed at supporting the most disadvantaged, those out of work or on the lowest income. We will continue to keep all FSM eligibility under review, to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

The department encourages all schools to promote healthy eating and provide healthy, tasty and nutritious food and drink. Compliance with the School Food Standards is mandatory for all maintained schools including academies and free schools.

It is for schools and caterers to decide what is an appropriate portion and to balance the food served across the school week. The guidance to accompany the School Food Standards includes guidance on portion sizes and food groups and is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food-standards-resources-for-schools.

Schools are responsible for the provision of school meals and may enter individual contracts with suppliers and caterers to meet this duty. The department is confident that schools will continue providing pupils with nutritious school meals as required by the School Food Standards. In recognition of cost pressures, after the National Funding Formula rates were set, we received additional funding from Her Majesty’s Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which we distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools is increasing by 2.5 billion in 2022/23, compared to last year.

The department holds regular meetings with other government departments and with food industry representatives, covering a variety of issues including public sector food supplies. We also spend around £600 million per year ensuring around 1.3 million infants enjoy a free, healthy, and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meal policy in 2014. The per meal rate of £2.34 per child was increased in the 2020/21 financial year. The funding rate for the 2022/23 financial year will be published with the funding allocations in June.


Written Question
Free School Meals: Asylum
Wednesday 25th May 2022

Asked by: Rachael Maskell (Labour (Co-op) - York Central)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to introduce free school meals for children who have parents or carers seeking asylum in the UK.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

Under this government, eligibility for free school meals has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century.

Under the benefits-based criteria, 1.7 million of the most disadvantaged pupils are eligible for and claim a free school meal. This includes children of families in receipt of support under Section VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

In addition to this, free school meal eligibility was extended to children from all families subject to no recourse to public funds on April 19, 2022, building on the temporary extension to some groups that had been in place since 2020. Throughout this entire period, children from a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 have and continue to be eligible for free school meals.


Written Question
Sudan: Food Aid
Tuesday 24th May 2022

Asked by: Mark Hendrick (Labour (Co-op) - Preston)

Question to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office:

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the UN's prediction of extreme hunger in Sudan in the remaining months of 2022, what assessment she has made of the need to provide aid to that country.

Answered by Vicky Ford - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

We are concerned at the food insecurity situation in Sudan as highlighted by the 21 March Food and Agriculture Organization report. The World Food Programme (WFP) has subsequently estimated that up to 20 million people will face "emergency" or "crisis" levels of acute food insecurity in 2022. The UK continues to provide humanitarian support to those most in need in Sudan. In 2021, we contributed £27 million to humanitarian assistance, via partners including the WFP, the UN-led Sudan Humanitarian Fund, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other non-governmental organisations. This 2021 funding provided approximately 1.2 million people with lifesaving assistance (such as food, cash and voucher support, safe drinking water, shelter and sanitation), including providing over 500,000 vulnerable children with free school meals.

The overwhelming driver of current food insecurity in Sudan is the political and economic crisis. Since the military coup in October 2021, we have encouraged all Sudanese political actors to engage in the talks facilitated by the UN, African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development to resolve the political crisis. Most recently, our Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea delivered this message directly to Sudan's military leadership on 28 April in Khartoum.


Written Question
Food
Monday 23rd May 2022

Asked by: Catherine McKinnell (Labour - Newcastle upon Tyne North)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 31 March 2022 to Question 146628 on Free School Meals: North East, when he plans to publish the national food strategy white paper.

Answered by Victoria Prentis - Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The forthcoming Government Food Strategy will set out the Government’s ambition and priorities for the food system, considering the evidence set out in Henry Dimbleby’s independent review and building on additional topics.

We are actively collaborating across Government to cover the entire food system and consider the unforeseen challenges that the agri-food sector has faced this last year since the independent review was published.

We expect to publish the Government Food Strategy shortly.


Written Question
Free School Meals: Finance
Monday 23rd May 2022

Asked by: Caroline Lucas (Green Party - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to increase free school meal budgets in line with inflation; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

The provision of free school meals (FSM) to children from out-of-work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government. Under the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn, and achieve in the classroom.

Under this government, eligibility for FSM has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant FSM, and further education FSM.

Schools fund benefit-related FSM from their core funding which they receive through the schools' block of the dedicated schools grant and is derived from the national funding formula (NFF). For the 2022/23 financial year, the funding schools attract through the 'FSM factor' in the NFF is increasing to £470 per eligible pupil.

In recognition of cost pressures, after the NFF rates were set, the department received additional funding from HM Treasury for core schools funding in the 2022/23 financial year, which was distributed through a schools supplementary grant. As a result of this additional funding, core schools funding for mainstream schools has increased by 5.8% per pupil in 2022/23.


Written Question
Primary Education: Free School Meals
Wednesday 18th May 2022

Asked by: Ian Lavery (Labour - Wansbeck)

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has made representations to Cabinet colleagues on the potential merits of making free school meals available to all primary school children for the purposes of supporting families with the rising cost of living.

Answered by Will Quince - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)

The provision of free school meals (FSM) to children from out-of-work families or those on low incomes is of the utmost importance to this government. Under the benefits-related criteria, the department provides a free healthy meal to around 1.7 million children, ensuring they are well-nourished and can concentrate, learn and achieve in the classroom.

Under this government, eligibility for FSM has been extended several times and to more groups of children than any other government over the past half a century, including the introduction of universal infant FSM, and further education FSM.

In addition to this, the temporary extension of FSM eligibility to some groups with no recourse to public funds that has been in place since 2020 was extended to all groups and made permanent, subject to income thresholds.

The department thinks it is right that provision is aimed at supporting the most disadvantaged, those out of work or on the lowest incomes. We do not have any plans to extend universal provision but we will continue to keep all free school meal eligibility under review, to ensure that these meals are supporting those who most need them.

The government is continuing to provide targeted cost of living support for households most in need. Through the Household Support Fund, the government is providing an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of household essentials, on top of what we have already provided since October 2021, bringing the total funding for this support to £1 billion.