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Feb 7th, 2013

School dinners

By becky

1.2 million. That’s the estimated number of children living in poverty in England today, who are missing out on free school meals. We could have a chance to fix this injustice – and make sure these little ones, the very poorest and most vulnerable in our society, get at least one decent meal a day.

The introduction of the new benefits system – universal credit – means the government could easily decide to extend free school dinners to all children living in poverty. At least that would mean that children in families that need help getting by could count on getting one proper meal every school day.

David Cameron could make this happen with the stroke of a pen. But as it stands, he’s not feeling enough pressure to do what’s right — it’s not in the headlines and not in his in-tray. Let’s change that, and make enough noise to ensure that all children in poverty get free school dinners.

Next Tuesday, 12th February, 38 Degrees and The Children’s Society are teaming up to hand-deliver this petition to David Cameron at 10 Downing Street. Click here to add your name.

The government keeps asking us to trust them to make tough spending choices. There’s something terribly wrong when banks are bailed out and the super-rich get away with dodging their taxes — but children living in poverty still go without free school meals.

You don’t need to be an education expert to know that when children are hungry, concentrating and learning becomes much harder. So choices we make about free school meals today could affect children’s exam results and job choices for years to come. And most people seem to understand that: 91% of the British public think widening access to free school dinners is a good idea.
But beyond all that, it’s just the right thing to do. It’s about the kind of nation we are, and the kind of nation we refuse to become. The number of food banks around Britain has doubled in the last year. Let’s make sure that all children in families living in poverty get at least one proper plate of food a day. Click here to sign the petition to David Cameron here.

Here’s what Lily Caprani from The Children’s Society said, “Nearly three quarters of teachers told us they are seeing children in school with no lunch, and no way to pay for one. They are in the classroom, they see the reality, and they overwhelmingly support the idea that all children in poverty should get a free school meal. 38 Degrees members can be the difference in making this happen.” Please sign here.

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