ALL primary school pupils in London will be given free school meals from September.

Mayor Sadiq Khan today announced £130m of funding to feed more than 270,000 kids in the capital.

The project should save families a whopping £440 per child across the year.

Amid the spiralling cost of living crisis, free school meals for all will begin in the new academic year and will only run during term time.

Charities have hailed the idea as a huge and welcome relief to parents.

Mr Khan said: “The cost of living crisis means families and children across our city are in desperate need of additional support.

“I have repeatedly urged the Government to provide free school meals to help already stretched families, but they have simply failed to act.

“This is why I’m stepping forward with an emergency £130m scheme that will ensure every single primary pupil in the capital receives free school meals. This will save families hundreds of pounds over the year, ensuring parents aren’t worrying about how they’re going to feed their children.”

Funding for the one-off scheme will be sourced from council tax and business rates.

London taxes are currently higher than the Mayor’s budget anticipated, meaning extra funds are available to support school meals.

Barbara Crowther from the Children’s Food Campaign said: “We applaud the mayor for announcing this vital nutritional safety net for every single primary school child in London for the coming academic year.

“However, healthy school food for all must not just be an emergency measure. It should be a core part of a fully inclusive education system for the long term.”

What are free school meals?

Free school meals are available to millions of pupils across England, Scotland and Wales.

The idea behind them is that children get access to at least one nutritional meal per day from Monday to Friday.

But the criteria to get them varies across all three countries.

Scotland and Wales have committed to eventually rolling out the benefit for all primary school pupils.

At present in Scotland, all students can get free school meals between Reception and Year Five, regardless of the parents’ income.

In Wales, all pupils in Reception get free school meals, and by the end of the year, this offer will be extended to all Year 1 and 2 pupils.

By the end of 2024, all primary school pupils in Wales will get free school meals.

In England, all children in Reception, Year 1 and 2 can get a free meal in school.

And in London for one year from September all primary school pupils will be eligible.

After that point, you will have to be receiving certain benefits which prove you need help paying for your child’s meals.

You might get free school meals in England for a children beyond Year 2 if you receive one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Tax Credits
  • Universal Credit

In all three nations, you qualify if you are in receipt of certain benefits regardless of income including: income support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and support under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

In England and Wales, this also includes the guaranteed element of Pension Credit, and working tax credit.

But for millions of families on Universal Credit, there are income requirements.

In England and Wales, you must have an income of £7,400 a year or less, not including benefits.

Those on child tax credits must earn under £16,190 a year.

Because eligibility criteria can be quite varied, it’s best to contact your local council and see what you might be in line for, especially if you are on a low income.