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Provide a free school breakfast to every child in every year of primary school

Last updated: 10:38am 10 January 2019

So under a new Conservative government, schools in England will offer a free school breakfast to every child in every year of primary school…

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.52

Our verdict

This manifesto pledge was promised as a replacement for a policy introduced back in 2014 by the coalition government – free school lunches to all state school pupils in their first three years of primary education. During the 2017 general election campaign, this replacement policy came under heavy criticism from chef and school food campaigner Jamie Oliver, as well as from teachers’ unions and the Labour Party.

Following the election, the government officially abandoned its plans. On 24 July 2017, Robert Goodwill, then children’s minister, said:

“As announced by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System on 4 July we will not be pursuing universal breakfasts for primary school children and we will be retaining the existing provision for universal infant free school meals.”

The government has, however, invested in the breakfast club programme, committing up to £26 million from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy to expand breakfast provisions in over 1,770 schools.

Despite the expansion of breakfast provision, this manifesto pledge must be classified as ‘broken’, as the government has officially stated that they will not be introducing free breakfasts for all primary school children, which is what was promised in the manifesto.

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