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Tower Hamlets first area to give free secondary school meals for all

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Image source, Tower Hamlets Council

Image caption,

The universal free secondary school meals are set to start in September

At a glance

An east London council is set to become the first in England to fund universal free school meals for all secondary school pupils.

Tower Hamlets Council will rollout the scheme from September, after it was approved at a meeting on Wednesday.

It save local families £550 per year, per child, the council said.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman called it a "ground-breaking scheme".

The council has funded free school meals for all primary school children since 2014.

It included £5.7m in its 2023/24 budget to extend these to secondary school pupils.

Mr Rahman hopes the new scheme will help improve the health of young people in the borough.

He added: "It helps mitigate the impacts of household food insecurity and reduces health inequalities, whilst saving families time and money."

Maium Talukdar, deputy mayor and cabinet member for education, said the scheme was part of the council's commitment to giving young people the tools for success.

It will be rolled out in three phases, with 38,000 pupils in the borough's primary and secondary schools having access to free school meals by April next year.

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