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:
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.
- 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.
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 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.
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
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”.
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.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg says he's sorry to see the departure of Brent MP Sarah Teather, but does not agree with her reasons for leaving
See also Brent MP to quit over policies