Laura Sharman 10 May 2017

Labour's free school meals would cost £950m a year finds research

Labour’s pledge to provide free school meals for all primary pupils would cost £950m a year, new analysis has revealed.

Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found the proposal would generate direct costs of £800m a year for the Government. It would also result in an extra £150m a year in extra funding for the devolved nations through the Barnett Formula.

The IFS also said the extension would require an upfront cost of £225m to upgrade school facilities.

The briefing stated: ‘Extending free school meals to all primary school children would cost around £950m each year. It would not directly benefit the poorest children, who are already entitled to free lunches.

‘While there is some evidence it might raise attainment overall, we don't understand how or why, and so the effect of extending this nationwide is uncertain. In the context of constrained public resources it is important to be much clearer about effectiveness before spending a large amount of money on a new universal entitlement.’

The IFS pointed to a pilot project undertaken in 2012 that found extending free school lunches to all Year 6 students in Newham and Durham helped children make an extra two months’ progress over a two-year period.

However, researchers warned that other policies could provide a cheaper and more effective way of improving education and health outcomes. For example, breakfast clubs in disadvantaged schools could deliver similar academic benefits to universal free school meals at a tenth of the cost per pupil.

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Highways Operative - Barrow x4

Cumbria County Council
£22,571 – £23,484
We are looking to recruit a new Highways Operative to our Highways Service. Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Refugee Resettlement Interpreter - Ukrainian and Russian

Cumbria County Council
£28,226 - £29,174
‘Homes for Ukraine’ is the Government’s initiative to supporting those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. Cumbria / Countywide
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Safer Spaces Community Safety Enforcement Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£31,122 - £32,112
Our Community Safety Enforcement Officers are responsible for improving community safety outcomes throughout the Royal Borough’s main Town Centres. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Enforcement Support Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£31,122 - £32,112
The Royal Borough of Greenwich are looking for dedicated, enthusiastic, and compassionate individuals. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Communications and Engagement Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£38,385 to £41,586
We’re looking for an enthusiastic and dedicated communications professional to join our team. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.