A CAMPAIGN TO give all Welsh children a free meal each day they are at school is being given cross-party support at the Welsh Assembly.

Both farming unions also back the Forward Wales Party initiative.

It would compliment an existing £16m a year free breakfast scheme for primary school children, and the £20m a year provision of free lunches for children from poorer families.

If the idea‘s supporters get their way it would start operating in September 2005, and this would raise total spending on free school meals in Wales to almost £100m a year.

They also want caterers to adopt very high nutritional standards and to liase with food producers to obtain locally sourced ingredients.

Alan Gardner, FUW vice president, welcomed the support of the British Medical Association, the Local Government Catering Association and Child Poverty Action group.

“It is vital that all children receive a healthy, nutritious meal that is locally sourced,” Mr Gardner said.

“We believe that this campaign represents a real step forward for efforts to improve the health of the nation‘s children.”

A seminar held by the union at the Royal Welsh Show in July had highlighted the importance of ensuring that every child was guaranteed at least one decent meal a day made using the freshest and best quality ingredients.