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Government introduces free school lunch for every child in infant school

The Coalition claims the move will save families over £400 a year per child.

Government introduces free school lunch for every child in infant school

Every child in infant school will receive a free school lunch from September 2014 as part of a £600 million government initiative.

- Leyla Hayes reports:

In a move which the government says will save families over £400 a year, every child in reception, year 1 and year 2 will be given a "hot, healthy meal at lunchtime".

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Universal free school meals will help give every child the chance in life that they deserve, building a stronger economy and fairer society.”

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Clegg added: “My ambition is that every primary school pupil should be able to sit down to a hot, healthy lunch with their classmates every day.”

Disadvantaged pupils in school sixth forms are already eligible for free school meals.

Read: Lib Dems hail 'huge win' over free school meals

As part of the plan, disadvantaged students in further education and sixth form colleges will also qualify from next September.

The two measures will cost approximately £600 million.

A pilot found that areas where children had been given a free school dinner “were academically months ahead of their peers”.

The new policy, announced at the Lib Dem conference, was agreed in return for the Conservatives pursuing plans for a tax break for married couples.

NewsTalk Live debate - Can we afford more free school lunches?