UK & World News
Clegg: Every Infant To Get Free School Lunch
Nick Clegg has announced plans to give free school meals to all infant schoolchildren.
The proposal, which will be a centrepiece of his leader's speech, will cost the exchequer £600m annually.
The Deputy Prime Minister says it is a key part of his drive to help people with the cost of living.
"It's great, great news for all families with small children in those first three years of primary school," he told Sky News.
"It will save them about £400 per child per year."
The Liberal Democrats say that pilot schemes have demonstrated free school meals also have a positive impact on educational attainment.
Mr Clegg said: "I think it's a way of giving every child that good start in life, because we all know - I certainly know as a parent - that a healthy, hot meal at lunchtime is the best way of making sure that a child can concentrate and do well in the classroom during the course of the rest of the day."
The flagship policy to emerge from the Liberal Democrats' Glasgow conference will be balanced in two weeks' time by a parallel announcement from the Conservatives.
It is thought inevitable that David Cameron's party will adopt his long-cherished proposal for a tax break for working couples.
The married tax break is not supported by the Liberal Democrats but they will allow it to pass as the coalition agreement provides for.
"I don't support it," Mr Clegg said, "because I cannot understand what is remotely fair about saying to an unmarried taxpayer you're going to have to pay higher taxes to help your neighbour - just because they got married - get lower taxes.
"Our approach, by contrast, is to help all families with small children."
Neither announcement is likely to be a gamechanger come the election in 2015.
But after a lengthy period during which cuts and austerity were the order of the day, the governing parties will be relieved to be at last in a position where they can spend significant sums and demonstrate their positive priorities to the electorate.