A minister has said that the government always reviews the criteria for free school meals. Speaking in the House of Commons, Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the issue was “under constant review”.
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His comments come after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the government to scrap the “means-tested system” and provide free school meals for all children.
During Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Corbyn said: “We know that poverty blights childhoods and life chances. That’s why I am calling on the government to end the means-tested system of free school meals and extend them to all primary schoolchildren.”
In response, Mr Gibb said: “We are always reviewing the criteria for free school meals, and we have extended them in recent years.
“But I have to say to him that the best way out of poverty is work, which is why this government is committed to increasing the national living wage, which will benefit millions of low-paid workers.”
Under the current system, children from families who receive certain benefits are eligible for free school meals.
Labour has pledged to extend free school meals to all primary schoolchildren if it wins power at the next general election.
The party says the policy would cost around £700 million a year and be funded by a “tax on second homes worth more than £400,000”.
According to Labour, the policy would benefit around 1.7 million children across the country.
The government has yet to say whether it would support the policy.
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