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Free school meals for infant school children: Your views

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:

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.

– Claire Thirlwell McGuire

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.

– Brian Baillie

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.

– Pamela Hardy

Read: Government to spend £600m on free school meal plan

National

Clegg and wife visit a school for meals announcement

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.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his wife took a break from the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow to visit a primary school Credit: PA Wire

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.

The Government's plan to give every child at infant school in England a free meal will cost approximately £600 million. Credit: PA Wire

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Free school meals after successful London pilot

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced that all four-to-seven-year-olds will be given free school meals.

The Coalition will fund schools in England to provide every infant school child with a hot meal at lunchtime
The Coalition will fund schools in England to provide every infant school child with a hot meal at lunchtime Credit: Press Association

From next September families will save around £400 pounds per child after a project pioneered in London.

National

Clegg: 'First step on way to free school meals for all'

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."

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Clegg admits London seat will be tough to win

The Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has admitted his party will face a tough fight in London at the next election, when Brent Central MP Sarah Teather stands down.

Last week the former education minister criticsed her own party and announced she was quitting in 2015. In an interview with ITV News, Nick Clegg said he knows the keeping the seat won't be easy. He spoke to Paul Brand.

Brent MP "doesn't believe in family"

A Conservative former colleague of Sarah Teather has said her lack of children made her a less effective families minister Credit: David Jones/PA

A former colleague of Brent MP Sarah Teather, who has resigned as an MP because she disagrees with government policies, has suggested she failed to support tax breaks for married couples because "she doesn't really believe in family"

It's reported that Conservative Tim Loughton, who worked alongside Miss Teather in the Department for Education, told the Conservative Renewal conference in Windsor:

“The person who was actually in charge of family policy amongst the ministerial team at the DfE was Sarah Teather.

Which was a bit difficult because she doesn't really believe in family. She certainly didn't produce one of her own. So it became a bit of a family-free zone. I think that is a huge disappointment”

See the Telegraph article reporting the story here

National

Tory MP: Teather 'a bad minister as she was childless'

A former Conservative education minister has allegedlysuggested that the Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather was a poor families minister because she has no children.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Tim Loughton said Miss Teather, who has no children, failed to support married couples in office because she “doesn’t really believe in family”.

MP Sarah Teather. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Mr Loughton, who was speaking to activists at the Conservative Renewal conference in Windsor, said: "The person who was actually in charge of family policy amongst the ministerial team at the DfE [Department for Education] was Sarah Teather.

"Which was a bit difficult because she doesn't really believe in family. She certainly didn't produce one of her own. So it became a bit of a family-free zone. I think that is a huge disappointment."

Mr Loughton has since tweeted that his words had been "distorted" by journalists, and were "not a personal attack" on Miss Teather.

The MP said he was "sorry" and his criticism was "not intended or fair" and was meant to be of Lib Dem family policy rather than of Miss Teather.

Read: Ex-Lib Dem minister Sarah Teather to quit politics

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