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Corbyn challenges proposed welfare cuts but free school meals for infants remain safe

Following the government’s defeat in the Lords over proposed changes to tax credits that would (and still might) see a £100 a month reduction in income for the 3.2 million families dependant on them, the topic resurfaced to dominate exchanges between David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn last week.

While David Cameron didn’t respond directly, citing the Conservative manifesto pledge to save £12bn in welfare, he said the Autumn Statement would outline further plans to save this money.

Asked if he was “punishing” working families, Mr Cameron reiterated his government’s introduction of policies which include the ability to earn £11,000 before needing to pay tax, alongside the increase to 30 hours of free childcare provision per week.

Labour’s Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, questioned the prime minister over whether he planned to scrap universal free infant school meals (UIFSM), after the government had previously refused to be drawn on plans in the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review. On 28 October we got what we had been seeking; confirmation from David Cameron that “I am proud of what we have done, and we will be keeping it.”

NAHT has worked with Hodgson to frame questions on this issue and will continue to work to get the spotlight on why this is so important for young children. We recently joined numerous other signatories in a letter to the government published in the Sunday Times to ensure the health and financial value UIFSMs continues to serve the families who need them. 

See how NAHT worked to influence amendments to the Childcare Bill

Show your support by signing the petition to keep Universal Infant Free School Meals

More information on the funding for universal infant free school meals

Page Published: 03/11/2015