Six out of 10 (62%) voters want the Labour leader to throw his weight behind mounting calls to make free lunches universal for primary school pupils to ensure no child gets left behind.
A majority of voters think Keir Starmer should commit to giving free school meals to all primary school children.
Six out of 10 (62%) UK adults want the Labour leader to throw his weight behind mounting calls to make free lunches universal for younger kids to ensure no child gets left behind.
An exclusive Survation poll for the Mirror found the figure was similar (61%) among voters in England where strict eligibility rules mean an estimated 800,000 children living in poverty miss out on free lunches.
The Labour-led Government in Wales has committed to universal free school meals in primary schools by 2024, as has the Scottish Government.
It comes as Labour chiefs prepare to thrash out the party’s key policies at a summit later this month before election preparations begin in earnest in the autumn.
Mr Starmer has resisted calls from his own MPs and mayors to roll it out due to cost – which would be around £1billion a year. But the poll found six out 10 (60%) think this would be a good use of public cash.
Under the current system, all children can get a free school dinner up to the end of Year 2.
Older children only qualify if their households receive certain benefits. Pupils living in Universal Credit families are eligible if their parents earn less than £7,400-a-year from work.
The Mirror and the NEU’s free school meals campaign has been backed by big names such as Gary Lineker and celebrity chef Tom Kerridge as well as Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is piloting the idea in the capital.
Quizzed on the issue by the Mirror at a Q&A session in Kent earlier this month, Mr Starmer said: “This is a healthy debate in the country and in the Labour Party. Obviously a number of councils, and in Wales, and mayors have committed to it.
“We’ve taken a different route, which is to go down the route of breakfast clubs and other structured support rather than go down that route.
“Of course we want to move forward but we are constrained by the economics and we are constrained also by this question about whether this is the best targeting of the resources that we’ve got.”News TIOB News