Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez took a break from the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow to visit a primary school ahead of the Government announcement on free school meals today.
The Lib Dem leader announced a new £600 million scheme giving all infant school children in England a free school meal from September 2014.
The measure is aimed at helping financially-stretched families but will also have education and health benefits, Mr Clegg said.
Following the Government's announcement that every child at infant school in England will receive a free school meal from next September, ITV News viewers have been giving their views on social media:
– Claire Thirlwell McGuire
All children should get free school dinners until they are 18 unless the parents opt out.
Good nutrition, table manners, and the social side of eating a meal together is missed in many households these days and should be part of education, not a profit making business.
– Brian Baillie
Why do we want kids fed at school? The meals are of poor quality, nutritionally poor and another step to the state taking over from parents.
– Pamela Hardy
I would love to see all school children get a good balanced meal. It's been proven that it helps with the learning process (amongst other things).
And if it's given to all children then there is no distinction between those who can afford it and those who can't.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the new policy giving all infant school children a free school meal in England was the first step in fulfilling his ambition to provide free school meals to all primary school children.
Mr Clegg said: "For the Liberal Democrats, this is a first step: my ambition is to provide free school meals for all primary school children. Another reason we want to get into Government again next time round."
The Deputy Prime Minister said free school meals would help "give every child the chance in life they deserve."
- The average school meal costs parents £437 per child per year
- Many children on low incomes are not eligible for free school meals - approximately four in ten children living in poverty
- In pilots in London, students were found to be on average two months ahead of their peers elsewhere
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced that all four-to-seven-year-olds will be given free school meals.
From next September families will save around £400 pounds per child after a project pioneered in London.