To mark National School Meals Week, Peter Black AM is calling on the Welsh Labour Government to introduce free school meals for all infant pupils.
The 20th annual National School Meals Week takes place from 4 to 8 November and is the biggest healthy eating awareness week aimed at children in England and Wales. The event is organised by LACA, the lead association for catering in education, which work with schools to promote healthy school meals in primary and secondary schools.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats welcome the LACA initiative to get as many pupils in England and Wales to try school food rather than bring a lunch box from home.
In September, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced that from next year, every child in infant school in England will receive a free school lunch. Money is to be made available for the Welsh Labour Government to also introduce the policy, yet the First Minister is refusing to do so.
Mr. Black said:
"Every primary school pupil should be able to sit down to a hot, healthy lunch with their classmates every day. It will help with their studies and also ensure they are receiving a healthy diet.
"Millions of parents across the country are feeling the squeeze. During the course of a year, the average familyspends £400 on lunch for each child. The Welsh Liberal Democrats are determined to ease the financial burden for these families and give every child the chance in life that they deserve, building a stronger economy and a fairer society.
"The Welsh Liberal Democrats have recently launched a petition callingon the Welsh Labour Government to introduce a free hot lunch scheme for all children in reception, year 1 and year 2. I urge people to visit our website and sign the online petition to let the Welsh Labour Government know the strength of feeling on this issue."
- The Welsh Lib Dem petition calling for free lunches for infants in Wales can be signed online here:http://welshlibdems.org.uk/meals
- For more information about National School Meals Week, please visit here: www.nsmw.org.uk/
- Universal free school meals for primary school pupils were a key recommendation in a recent review of school food produced independently for the Department for Education in England. The review found that, in pilots where all children had been given a free school dinner, pupils were academically months ahead of their peers elsewhere and more likely to eat vegetables at lunchtime.
- Extending free school meals to all infant school pupils will help families meet the cost of living - the average school meal costs parents £437 per year for each child.