William Eichler 31 March 2022

Welsh government announces £25m to roll out free school meals

Welsh government announces £25m to roll out free school meals image
Image: PJjaruwan/Shutterstock.com.

The Welsh government is investing £25m in school kitchen and dining infrastructure, as part of plans to roll out free school meals to all primary school children in Wales.

The policy is part of the Co-operation Agreement between the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru, which will see free school meals extended to all primary school pupils over the next three years.

Working with schools and local authorities, the Welsh Government will plan and prepare the infrastructure needed for all primary aged pupils to receive free school meals by September 2024.

Revenue funding of up to £200m has been set aside for local authorities to deliver the commitment, with £40m to be provided in 2022-23, £70m in 2023-24 and £90m in 2024-25.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: ‘This cost-of-living crisis is being felt by families all over Wales – extending free school meals is one of a number of measures we are taking to support families through this difficult time.’

Leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price added: ‘This new capital funding supports the start of the introduction of free school meals for all primary school children. It is also part of a wider agenda to use those powers we do have in Wales to tackle child poverty, which affects a third of our children.

‘Removing the stigma associated with having a free lunch will mean that children receive a healthy meal at a formative stage in their development - hungry children cannot learn or achieve their true potential. Together, we’re delivering for Wales and making a difference.’

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