Extend universal free school meals

06 February 2020

400,000 children in London have very low food security.  

166,512 Londoners received assistance from a Trussell Trust foodbank – just under 60,000 of recipients were children.

Today, the London Assembly called on the Mayor and the Chair of the London Assembly to jointly write to Secretary of State for Education to outline the case for extending the provision of universal free school meals. 

Fiona Twycross AM, who proposed the motion said:  

“Food insecurity blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in our capital, with many forced to go into school hungry and under-nourished. In one of the richest cities in the world, this is simply unacceptable.

“Foodbanks and other charities do an incredible job of providing emergency food parcels to those affected by food poverty, but the simple truth is they shouldn’t exist in the first place.

“Many of the solutions to tackling food insecurity lie in the hands of national Government. However, City Hall should also play its role and build the case for extending the provision for universal free school meals.”

The full text of the motion is:

This Assembly welcomes the steps the Mayor has taken to tackle food insecurity. It notes the Mayor has developed a measure of food insecurity which shows that 400,000 children in London have low or very low food security.1 The Assembly further notes that 166,512 Londoners received assistance from a Trussell Trust foodbank –

just under 60,000 of recipients were children. This cannot be acceptable in one of the richest cities in the world. We are concerned that the chief operating officer of Food and Drink Federation has said that the Government’s planned future relationship with the European Union means that food prices are likely to rise at the end of the year.

The Assembly praises the work of a number of voluntary organisations that are working to tackle food insecurity such as the Trussell Trust, Sustain, End Hunger UK and local food banks such as the Pecan foodbank in Southwark.

This Assembly agrees with the Mayor that London should be a zero-hunger city. We call on the Mayor to commit to undertake research which examines the benefits universal free school meal provision could have on educational attainment and health outcomes in London. This should be done with a view to the Mayor and Chair of the London Assembly jointly writing to the Secretary of State for Education to outline the case for extending the provision of universal free school meals.

Notes to editors

  1. Watch the full webcast
  2. The motion was agreed by 12 votes for and 4 against.
  3. Fiona Twycross AM, who proposed the motion, is available for interviews. 
  4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Lisa Lam on 020 7084 2713.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer.  Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

Share this page