Plaid Cymru aim to extend universal free school meals to secondary schools in local elections pledge
Plaid Cymru Local Authorities will commit to the aim of extending universal Free School Meals to include secondary school pupils during the next council term, the party’s leader Adam Price has said.
Adam Price was speaking ahead of his keynote speech to his party’s Spring Conference in Cardiff this weekend.
The Co-Operation Agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government has already commited to £200m to deliver free school meals for all primary school children – with the roll-out expected to begin in September.
However, Mr Price announced today that his party will “take the policy further” and that Plaid Cymru-led councils would “commit to setting the goal and begin immediately planning” to extend universal Free School Meals to all secondary school pupils within the next five years.
“Midway through the last Senedd we resolved to make free school meals for all primary school children our number one priority,” he said.
“It was the one sure way, within the powers of the Senedd that we could make an impact on the curse of child poverty in Wales, that impacts on a third of our children.
“It gets rid of dinner money debt and scraps the stigma associated with getting a free lunch and means children get a healthy, hot meal at a formative stage in their development – because hungry children can’t learn, can’t grow and can’t achieve their true potential.
“Universal Free School Meals is only happening because of Plaid Cymru’s co-operative working – together, we are making a difference to the lives of people and communities up and down Wales.
“We are now planning to take the policy further. I can announce today that a key part of our offer in the forthcoming council election campaign is that Plaid Cymru-led councils will commit to setting the goal and begin immediately planning to extend universal Free School Meals to all secondary school pupils within the next five years.”
Reflecting on a post-pandemic Wales and looking ahead to local government elections in May, Mr Price is also expected to pay tribute to Plaid Cymru led councils and councillors who “build the nation from the bottom up”.
He will also reaffirm his and his party’s solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
He added: “Through Free School Meals for all we will begin to create a Wales free of hunger and poverty. Through our National Care Service we will create a Wales free of worry in old age. Through rent control and a right to housing we will create a Wales free of homelessness.
“And through free universal early learning and childcare, high-quality, bilingual, and free we will build a Wales in which every child can become the adult they were meant to be.
“This is why the local elections are so important. Every Plaid councillor elected, every Plaid council formed, is building the nation from the bottom up.”
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Some of us have been campaigning for free school meals for decades. This is a crucial once in a life time government intervention that immediately impacts upon learning but also inter-generational health inequalities – impacting upon the future health of grandchildren with the reduction of CHD, diabetes, etc. Of course, the devil is in the detail. Particular attention must be given to avoiding a serious decline in nutritional standards; the extra cost of local sourcing food; increased capacity for dining space; extra and modernised kitchen equipment; dining room supervision (so this is not imposed upon teachers); kitchen staff training, adequate… Read more »
Yes, nearly there! Owe you debt of thanks for pushing this.
I am all for the state providing for children whose families cannot afford to feed their children properly and see the stigma arguement put forward however there has to be a better way than just saying give free meals to all. Why should the state feed the children of millionaires, pupils going to private secondary schools were the fees are £20k a year etc. Typical Plaid good intention policy but not thought out