Universal Free School Meal Policy a “Huge Step Forward” Towards Tackling Child Poverty
A key pledge by Plaid Cymru in the 2021 Senedd elections will begin its implementation from September this year.
Now a key commitment in the Co-operation Agreement between Plaid Cymru and Welsh Government, universal free school meals for all primary school children is being rolled out, starting with reception classes in the new school year.
Through the Co-operation Agreement, Plaid Cymru is working with Welsh Government to ensure that most local authority areas in Wales will begin implementation of the policy this September. Ensuring that provision is of high-quality and using locally-sourced produce where possible is also a priority.
Sioned Williams MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Equalities and Social Justice, said this was a significant step forward towards tackling poverty in Wales.
“This is a huge step forward in our efforts to tackle poverty in Wales, one that will make a real difference to so many children” said Sioned Williams.
“Universal Free School Meals for primary school children was a key election pledge for Plaid Cymru in the 2021 Senedd elections and one that we held as a priority in helping to develop the Co-operation Agreement.”
She added: “While I understand that most schools in Wales will begin delivery this September, given the impact of the cost of living crisis on families, we must ensure local authorities that are not yet on track are supported to re-double their efforts between now and the start of school in September, and in the months that follow as the policy is introduced for older children, so free meals are delivered as soon as possible to as many of our children as possible.
“This policy could be the difference between a child going hungry or not – that is how important it is. Our heartfelt thanks go to those working within local authorities across Wales - catering staff, those making deliveries and coordinating the roll-out - in recognising how important it is that we get this right for our children.”