Free school meals for all primary school children

31 May 2024

The Liberal Democrats have launched their ambition to extend free school meals to all primary school children, funded by a new share buyback tax. 

The party’s plan includes an immediate extension of free school meals to all 900,000 children living in poverty who currently miss out. The second phase would see all primary school children receiving free school meals as the public finances stabilise.

Ed Davey visits a school in Hertfordshire and joins in a baking lesson

Ed Davey said

“Across the country, I hear heartbreaking stories of children going to school with empty packed lunch boxes as parents struggle to cover even the basic costs. 

“Conservative MPs should hang their heads in shame at a legacy of children going hungry in the worst cost of living crisis in a generation. 

“Children cannot be expected to learn on empty stomachs with no guarantee of a hot meal when they get home."

Analysis by PWC found that every £1 spent on free school meals for the poorest children generates £1.38 in health and earnings benefits, including improvements to children’s health, education and future working life opportunities. 

The new policy will make the Liberal Democrats the most ambitious party on free school meals. The government currently only provides meals for all children in reception, year 1 and year 2. In year 3 and above, the government has set stringent conditions on family income for children receiving free school meals. 

The manifesto pledge would be funded by a 4% levy on the share buybacks of FTSE 100 listed corporations, similar to the excise tax on buybacks implemented by President Biden in the US, which could raise around £1.4bn a year.

It is time for change. Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for a local champion who will fight for the wellbeing of children and their futures.

The Liberal Democrats have the most ambitious plan for free school meals of any party, which would save parents money and transform the future for millions of children.

Extend Free School Meals

Back the Liberal Democrat plan to extend free school meals to all primary school children.

You can opt-out at any time
You can opt-out at any time
Would you like to receive email updates?
Would you like to receive phone communication?

The Liberal Democrats may use the information you provide, including your political opinions, to further our objectives and share it with our elected representatives. Any data we gather will be used in accordance with our privacy policy: You can exercise your rights and withdraw your consent to future communications by contacting us: or: DPO, Lib Dems, 1 Vincent Square, SW1P 2PN.




This website uses cookies

Like most websites, this site uses cookies. Some are required to make it work, while others are used for statistical or marketing purposes. If you choose not to allow cookies some features may not be available, such as content from other websites. Please read our Cookie Policy for more information.

Essential cookies enable basic functions and are necessary for the website to function properly.
Statistics cookies collect information anonymously. This information helps us to understand how our visitors use our website.
Marketing cookies are used by third parties or publishers to display personalized advertisements. They do this by tracking visitors across websites.