MORE than 8,000 infant school pupils in the town will benefit from a free hot and healthy meal at lunchtime from September next year.

Nick Clegg announced the coalition government will fund schools in England to provide free meals for all children in reception, year one and year two in a measure that will save families £400 a year per child.

At the same time, the coalition will extend free school meals to disadvantaged students in further education and sixth form colleges.

Free school meals are currently available only for eligible students at school sixth forms.