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Meals unclaimed

ALMOST a third of children who are entitled to free school meals fail to claim them, according to schools minister Estelle Morris.

Out of 1.4 million pupils on schools' registers who qualify for a free lunch, more than 300,000 failed to claim it on the day that figures were collected.

n response to questions from Helen Jones MP, ministers said they were working closely with the Child Poverty Action Group to increase take-up. Junior minister Jacqui Smith estimated it would cost an additional pound;400m to provide free meals for all children from families on low incomes.

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