AHEAD of the new school term, Plaid Cymru has renewed its calls for free
school meals to be extended across secondary schools.
In England, a child is eligible for a free school meal only if their
household receives certain benefits, but in Wales, thanks to the
Co-operation Agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government,
this is being extended to all primary school children, starting this
However, Leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price MS, has always made it clear
that universal primary school meals is “step one” and outlined his
vision of extending this policy across Wales at his party’s Spring
Adam Price has renewed his calls for this to be set as a national
commitment, and said:
“Universal free school meals for primary school pupils is Plaid Cymru
at its best. However, we have always said that we see the introduction
of free school meals for primary school children as a first step. To us,
it isn’t a matter of if this should happen, but when.
“By starting the conversations and outlining what needs to happen to
roll this out across all schools, and to all ages, we can plan to make a
tangible difference to people’s lives.
“I’m under no illusion that this work will be easy, but there can
be no doubt that it’s necessary. Hungry children cannot learn, and
this is no less true in secondary schools as it is in primary schools.
“I’m proud that it’s a Plaid Cymru council that is leading the
way, but of course, the quickest and fairest way of extending this
policy would be to have it set as a national commitment, fully funded by
Welsh Government so that children and young people all over Wales can
“In the face of a Tory Westminster Government, it would show exactly
how we can do things differently in Wales.”
The new leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Cllr. Darren Price
says that poverty doesn’t stop when children reach secondary school,
and that conversations need to begin now on making universal free school
meals a possibility in Wales.
Using what local authorities have learned from the roll out of universal
free meals in primary school, Cllr Price has announced that
Carmarthenshire County Council stand ready to assess what would be
required to deliver free meals to a higher number of secondary school
Cllr Price said,
“In Wales we’re doing things differently – and Plaid Cymru has a
clear vision for Wales that includes giving our children the best start
“In accepting that universal free primary school meals are an
important step in tackling the symptoms of child poverty, the next
logical step is starting to think how we could roll this out across
“We can begin conversations around how we do this by learning from
the free school meals rollout for primary schools. After all, poverty
doesn’t stop in primary school.
“That’s why we need to be taking steps to assess what would be
required to deliver to a higher number of pupils.
“Anything we can do now to help plan for a future rollout of this
policy we are glad to do – we have learned a lot and overcome a number
of challenges to hit the target of commencing the rollout of free school
meals for primary school pupils. In conjunction with local government
across Wales we stand ready to offer expertise and ideas as to what this
could look like in secondary school settings.
“In Carmarthenshire, a key focus as we continue the present rollout
for primary schools will be to develop and support local suppliers and
producers through the supply chain, thereby supporting local businesses
and help safeguard jobs in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.”