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Sadiq Khan warns school meals for all primary schoolchildren in Ealing will be cut if not re-elected

The current Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is warning that more than 12,500 primary schoolchildren in Ealing who go to state schools and get a free school meal will no longer be automatically entitled to one if he is not re-elected. 

He has called out Conservative candidate Susan Hall for not willing to offer free school meals to all primary schoolchildren following a recent hustings event in London.

Ms Hall said: “There is no such thing as a free meal. People have to pay for it. And what we have to bear in mind is that we could have people on the breadline, without children, having to pay towards people, food for people, that maybe are millionaires’ children. It is absolutely appropriate that we make sure that children whose parents cannot afford to feed them, that we look after those children.”

Responding to Ms Hall’s comment, the Mayor said: “Delivering universal free school meals for state primary school children has been one of my proudest moments as Mayor. They were also a lifeline for me personally growing up. With the continuing cost-of-living crisis, it means parents don’t have to worry about whether their children will get a healthy, nutritious meal every day.”

Mr Khan added: “My Tory opponent has finally revealed what she thinks about the policy. Frankly it’s a disgrace that anyone running for Mayor would want to roll back a policy that’s ensuring children across London aren’t going hungry. Without it, thousands of families in Ealing on low incomes who are really struggling would lose support.

The current initiative from the Mayor of London to help support people with the cost-of-living crisis, sees 287,000 pupils across London including 12,581 in Ealing being provided with a free meal that which saves families in Ealing around £440 per child during the current academic year.

Previously children in years 3 to 6 in primary school years had only received free school meals if they lived in households on universal credit earning less than £7,400 a year – after tax and not including benefits, and regardless of the number of children in the family.

The scheme was first introduced in September 2023 and Mr Khan announced in January 2024 plans to continue it. He said at the time: “I know from personal experience what a lifeline free school meals can be and I’m immensely proud that our unprecedented funding means that hundreds of thousands of children across London’s primary schools are now benefitting from them.”

He added: “As the new academic year begins, for the first time ever all children at state primary schools in every borough will be enjoying a free lunch at school every day – helping families struggling with the cost-of-living and ensuring children don’t go hungry. It is shocking that families across the capital are struggling to feed themselves as they try to deal with the cost-of-living crisis, and I will continue to do all I can to support Londoners as we build a better and more prosperous city for all.”

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