The Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) initiative which has provided a major boost and projects for many catering equipment distributors could soon be brought to a close.
The chancellor’s autumn spending review, which has the power to cut any public expenditure, will involve the Department for Education drawing up detailed plans for making savings.
According to The Guardian, while overall school funding will be protected on a per-pupil basis, the budget for the UIFSM programme is not ringfenced.
Already, two DfE-funded projects to help schools increase their dinner takeup have been scrapped, with the a department spokesperson saying: “We have decided to end the contract with the Food for Life Partnership and the Children’s Food Trust as they did not offer value for money to the taxpayer.”
The UIFSM was introduced by the previous coalition government in 2014 but following the publishing of the spending review on 25 November, the scheme could come to a premature end.
Catering equipment dealers and manufacturers will be watching the announcement closely this autumn.