London Mayor announces emergency move to give free school meals to all primary school pupils

Last Updated: February 20, 2023By Tags: , , , , , ,

Sadiq Khan: he’s feeding London’s school pupils. Isn’t it a shame the Conservative government can’t think up policies that would help the families of London afford to do the same?

What a sad pickle for a country as rich as the UK – that its people can’t even afford to feed their children. Who has all the money?

Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced an emergency package of free meals for all primary school pupils in London, to help poverty-stricken families through the Tory-caused cost-of-living crisis.

Here’s the Evening Standard:

210,000 primary and secondary pupils in London … live in households on universal credit but miss out on free school meals – because their household income, excluding benefits, is over the threshold of £7,400 a year.

This low threshold applies irrespective of the number of children in the family and is causing deep hardship among families struggling with the spiralling cost of living.

Some hungry children were so desperate, they were stealing food from the school canteen and supermarkets to eat.

Sadiq Khan’s £130 million scheme will fund the 270,000 state primary school children in London who do not already receive free school meals, of whom an estimated 100,000 live in poverty.

The Mayor, who has repeatedly called on Government to extend free school meals to all children in poverty, said his scheme will be funded out of higher-than-expected business rates and council tax collections and will be for the 2023/2024 academic year only.

So it isn’t permanent, and it looks like it’s only during term time – so we’ll still need the Marcus Rashfords of this world if matters get so tight that children end up starving during the holidays.

And of course it doesn’t help the 100,000 secondary pupils in London, or the 600,000 school pupils outside the capital, who are also facing poverty-triggered hunger.

And I doubt if councils in the UK’s poorer areas will have higher business rates and council tax collections on which to rely.

Interestingly – once again – we are being told that the Tory government’s failure to ensure that our school pupils are properly nourished is harmful to the economy that they still claim to be best-suited to safeguard:

Research by accounting firm PwC published by the Evening Standard has shown that investment in free school meals would yield a net economic benefit to society of £2.45 billion over 20 years.

PwC calculated that the cost would be £6.44 billion over two decades but would lead to benefits in educational attainment, mental and physical health impacts and productivity of £8.9 billion – a net benefit of £2.45bn.

So the Conservative government, once again, has been shown to be deliberately – let’s remember – harming not only our children, but our future livelihoods.

Who voted for them?

And who will ever vote for them again?

Source: Sadiq Khan announces free school meals for all primary school pupils in London | Evening Standard

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  1. stainglass44 February 20, 2023 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    They are not FREE we all pay TAX

    • Mike Sivier February 20, 2023 at 10:29 pm - Reply

      But we all pay tax anyway. The parents would otherwise be paying extra for the cost of the meal and now they aren’t. So it’s free.

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