The Conservatives will end Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) if they win the election on 8th June.
The Conservative manifesto, published today (18th May), sets out plans to end UIFSM – which provides free school meals to all children up to Year 2 – and instead offer free breakfasts to every pupil in primary school.
It claims that the move would cut spending by £650m, which will be pooled with further funding cuts and “efficiencies” to create a £4bn pot for English schools.
They cite evidence that breakfasts provides just as many benefits to pupils as a school lunch does including better learning outcomes, but the £60m breakfast policy is a tenth of the cost. The £4bn funding represents a real-term increase and means no school will see its budget cut in cash terms through a new national funding formula.
Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman Sarah Olney said: “Margaret Thatcher was know as the ‘milk snatcher’. Theresa May will go down as the lunch snatcher.”
The Lib Dems created the UIFSM policy while in the coalition with the Conservatives. Since its introduction in 2014 it has created more jobs, hours, and better facilities, as well as provide over one million extra school meals.