Free school meals expansion campaign picks up pace as cost of living crisis bites

Expanding free school meals (FSMs) to all families on Universal Credit could yield a £25bn boost to the economy, research suggests.

It comes after a survey of school meal providers has revealed that more children are arriving at school without having had breakfast and a decrease in the number of paid meals being served.

Research commissioned by the Feed the Future campaign has concluded that for every £1 invested in providing FSMs to children on Universal Credit, £1.38 would be returned over 20 years (2025 to 2045).

These returns come from improved health outcomes, including lower obesity rates, better education outcomes via improved behaviour and academic performance, and better employment prospects.

The figure also includes the boost such a policy would give to wider opportunities, such as expanded school catering employment.

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