Theresa May’s plan to scrap free school meals for infant pupils if she wins the election is a “disgrace” according to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
The TV star and campaigner said children did better at school after a “decent lunch” and said the policy would undermine teachers.
The Conservative manifesto, which Mrs May launched earlier on Thursday, has promised that some of the money saved by ending universal free school lunches for infants in England would be used to provide all primary-age children with free breakfasts.
But Oliver said: “We’ve already seen the childhood obesity strategy ripped to shreds, now Theresa May and her Government have decided to remove free school lunches from millions of primary children.
“This is a disgrace. It’s a fact that children perform better after eating a decent lunch.
“This move shows a complete lack of understanding of all the data that’s been shared and puts our future generations at huge risk, as well as further undermining our teachers who benefit from well-fed kids.
“What are they going to snatch back next?”
The Tories say the evidence shows that a free school breakfast is as effective at helping children learn as a hot meal at lunch – and can be delivered at a tenth of the cost, around £60m a year.
The free school meal policy was a flagship Liberal Democrat programme during the 2010-2015 coalition and the party condemned the decision to scrap it.
Lib Dem education spokeswoman Sarah Olney said: “Margaret Thatcher was known as the milk snatcher. Theresa May will go down as the lunch snatcher.”