§ Mr. Webb
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will estimate the(a) cost in the current financial year of providing free school meals and (b) additional annual cost of extending the scheme to include (i) children in full-time education whose families are in receipt of working families tax credit and (ii) all children in full-time education. 
§ Jacqui Smith
The Department does not collect information on the cost of providing free school meals. We estimate that(a) the cost of providing free school meals in England in the current financial year is over £300 million; and that (b) the additional annual cost of (i) extending free school meals to children in full-time education whose families are in receipt of working families tax credit would be over £400 million; and (ii) extending free school meals to all children would be almost £2 billion.
We have no current plans to extend eligibility for free school meals, which would require primary legislation, but we are working closely with the Child Poverty Action Group on ways of increasing take-up by entitled pupils.