Free school meals make frontpage news

As the cost of living crisis has made making ends meet increasingly difficult for families, Munira has consistently campaigned for free school meals to be expanded to more households on low-incomes.

On 11 November, Munira’s calls for the Government to expand free school meals were featured on the frontpage of The Guardian.

The article shed light on troubling Liberal Democrat analysis that as many as 100,000 children in families eligible for Universal Credit are currently going without.

This is a direct result of the Conservatives’ decision to freeze the income threshold for free school meals for the past four years. Read the full article here.

Munira’s calls in Parliament

In Parliament, Munira has been calling on the Government to expand free school meals for several months as the cost of living crisis continues. Most recently, she made the case during a debate on the National Food Strategy at the end of last month.

The Conservatives’ current policy includes an income threshold which has left a staggering 800,000 children living in poverty in the UK without access to a free, healthy school lunch. Research has shown that children who go hungry at school find it harder to concentrate, perform poorly in comparison to their peers and have lower attendance records.

“The health and educational benefits of expanding free school meals make it clear that this isn’t just a welfare measure,” Munira says. “It is also an investment in our children and our country’s future prosperity.”

While Conservative Ministers look to make cuts in the aftermath of their disastrous mini-budget, Munira urged the Government to invest in free school meals. “During the cost of living crisis especially,” she adds, “there is a strong case for providing all primary school children with a free lunch, taking the strain off of millions of families.”

Munira also praised the work of Liberal Democrat Richmond Council, which stepped up to the plate to provide eligible children with nutritious lunches during the half-term holidays when the Government refused to fund them.

Following the debate, Munira said: “Our new Prime Minister says he believes that education is a silver bullet, and I could not agree more.

“If Rishi Sunak truly wants to invest in our children’s health, wellbeing and attainment in school, he must make expanding free school meals one of his first actions in office. Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign for this measure until no child in the UK is left to go hungry at school.”