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The Department does not collect data on schools' spending on school meals, so we do not have an estimate of the total public spending on school meals. Schools do not receive specified funding for the costs of meals from the Government.
Schools must provide free school meals to eligible children. The cost of free school meals is met by schools from their overall schools budget. Local authorities and schools determine how much is allocated for free school meals based on the circumstances in their area. We estimate the cost of free school meals to be around £460 million per year.