Free school meals for infants next September
English infant schoolchildren will be eligible for free school meals, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced.
Liberal Democrat leader Mr Clegg said: "My ambition is that every primary school pupil should be able to sit down to a hot, healthy lunch with their classmates every day.
"Millions of parents across the country are feeling the squeeze. Over the course of a year families spend over £400 lunch money for each child.
"I am determined to do all we can to help put money back in the pockets of these families.We will start with infant school pupils because teaching healthy habits young, and boosting attainment early, will bring the biggest benefits.
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"Universal free school meals will help give every child the chance in life that they deserve, building a stronger economy and fairer society."
The scheme will save parents about £437 a child and come into affect next September, Mr Clegg said.
The policy is part of a deal with the Lib Dems' coalition partners as the Conservatives will be able to introduce their married couples' tax break.
The free school meals plan will ensure a hot lunch is available to all children in reception, year 1 and year 2 - pupils aged between five and seven.
Clegg will tell the Lib Dem conference in Glasgow on Wednesday: "For the Liberal Democrats, this is a first step: my ambition is to provide free school meals for all primary school children. Another reason we want to get into Government again next time round.
"The Conservatives, on the other hand, have made it clear that their priority is to help some families over others, with a tax break for married couples. A tax break for some, funded through the taxes of others.
"That tells you everything you need to know about their values. We, however, will help all families in these tough times, not just the kind we like best, by helping their young children get the best possible start in life - and that tells you everything about ours."