Free school lunches for infants: 60% of Lib Dems back Nick Clegg’s policy

by Stephen Tall on February 3, 2014

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. Some 750 party members responded – thank you – and we’ve been publishing the full results.

(There were a couple of results I ran out of time to publish during the Christmas holiday period – I’m publishing them this week.)

On Saturday, I reported the results of what party members think about school structures. Yesterday, we looked at whether you thought teachers should have formal professional qualifications and if the National Curriculum should be compulsory. Today, we’re asking what you thought of Nick Clegg’s announcement of free school meals for all infant children…

Do you think Nick Clegg was right or wrong to make school meals free for children in the first three years a spending priority this Parliament?

    60% – Right

    27% – Wrong

    9% – Don’t know

    4% – Other

It was the party’s big announcement of the last conference season: all pupils at infant schools in England are to get free school lunches from this September at an original estimated annual cost of £635 million.

The idea’s not without its critics, including the Lib Dems’ own Sir Nick Harvey (“It’s not that I’m against giving kids a free school meal, it’s just a very odd sense of priorities”).

However, in our survey of party members, the policy gets a pretty resounding thumbs-up, with 60% backing it and 27% saying it’s the wrong priority.

  • 1,500 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with 749 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 14th and 18th December.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However,’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past offered accurate guides to what party members think.
  • For further information on the reliability/credibility of our surveys, please refer to FAQs: Are the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members accurate? and polling expert Anthony Wells’ verdict, On that poll of Lib Dem members.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at
  • * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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