NDM7767 Plaid Cymru Debate - Free School Meals

NDM7767 Siân Gwenllian (Arfon)

To propose that this Senedd:

1. Notes the recent publication of several reports by the Bevan Foundation and the Wales Anti-Poverty Coalition on expanding the provision of free school meals and on the extent of poverty in Wales.

2. Notes the recent publication of a letter by the Wales Anti-Poverty Coalition signed by ten anti-poverty organisations calling on the new Welsh Government to make expanding free school meals a priority. 

3. Calls on the Welsh Government to:

a) amend the eligibility criteria for free school meals so that all school pupils in families receiving universal credit or equivalent benefit are eligible;

b) permanently extend free school meal entitlements to pupils in families with no recourse to public funds;

c) publish a timeline for the phased implementation of universal free school meals to guarantee all school pupils a nutritious, locally sourced school lunch.

Bevan Foundation: Expanding the provision of free school meals in Wales

Bevan Foundation: Expanding the eligibility criteria for free school meals

Bevan Foundation: Snapshot of poverty in spring 2021

A copy of the letter mentioned in point 2 of the motion has been circulated to Members of the Senedd.

The following amendments were tabled:

Amendment 1 Lesley Griffiths (Wrexham)

Delete point 3 and replace with:

Notes the Welsh Government:

a) has commenced a review of the eligibility criteria for free school meals as committed to in the Programme for Government, with the intent of extending entitlement, provisional Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC) data shows there are 108,203 pupils eligible for free school meals, an increase of almost 18,000 since PLASC 2020;

b) has provided an additional £60m since the start of the pandemic to provide additional Free School Meals in the 2020-21 financial year and has been recognised by the Education Policy Institute (EPI) for its support to families eligible for free school meals during the pandemic;

c) will provide an additional £23.3m to extend free school meals in school holidays for the 2021-22 financial year, providing the most generous provision in the UK; and

d) working with partners, delivers the only universal primary school free breakfast scheme in the UK.

Programme for Government

[If amendment 1 is agreed, amendment 2 will be de-selected]

Amendment 2 Darren Millar (Clwyd West)

In point 3, delete sub-point (c).

Business type: Debate

Reason considered: Senedd Business;

Status: Complete

First published: 13/07/2021