LANCASHIRE County Council says all infant children in its schools will be able to access free lunches as they reopen for the autumn term.

This comes as Blackburn with Darwen Council also announced it too was ready to provide the meals, despite initial fears about a £150,000 cash shortfall.


Thousands of infants across East Lancashire are now entitled to free school lunches for the first time under the Government’s universal infant free school meals scheme (UIFSM).

Lancashire County Council say they are expecting to see around 35 to 40 per cent more infant pupils having meals com-pared to previous years.

In order to ensure all children will get the meals, the county council has undertaken nearly 200 projects upgrading kit-chens, and in some schools installed full new kitchens. An extra 200 staff have also been recruited to meet demand and more kitchen equipment brought in.

Roger Eakhurst, the council’s assistant director responsible for school catering, said: “It's been quite a challenge to ensure Lancashire’s 40,500 Key Stage 1 pupils can have free school meals when they return, but I’m plea-sed to say we’re on target.

Dave Harling, executive member for schools and education at Blackburn with Darwen, said: “All of our schools will be able to deliver UIFSM from the start of term.

“Schools have decided how to organise school meal delivery with advice from the council when requested.”