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Free school meals to start Welshpool roll out next term

Created on 20/06/2022 @ 10:19


Children in the Welshpool area who are in the reception age group will be entitled to free school meals from next term.

The Welsh Government has confirmed that its roll-out to eventually provide free school meals for all primary school children will begin next term, and the move has been welcomed by some local politicians.

It will eventually see around 272,000 primary school pupils eating for free and could save parents around £450 a year per child. Currently only some children qualify for free school meals.

The policy was confirmed in March after an initial agreement was made over free meals in Plaid Cymru and Labour’s cooperation agreement in December 2021, and it was warmly received by prominent Plaid Cymru Powys councillor, Elwyn Vaughan.

Today, the Welsh Government said that alongside Plaid it was “committed to implementing the scheme as quickly as possible in response to the rising cost of living crisis”.

Local authorities will effectively take on the role of providing the meals, funded by the Welsh Government with £225m committed to secure its delivery over the next three years. £25m of that fund has gone to improving school kitchen facilities.

While Welsh Conservative education spokeswoman Laura Anne Jones said the government should “focus their resources on the students that need it most”, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds, an MS for Mid Wales, said: “By making free school meals universal we not only remove the high administrative costs in means testing the scheme, but also the stigma attached to free school meals.”

PICTURE: A file shot of Guilsfield school.

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