Let’s not beat around the bush: your lovable Conservative government led by cuddly Boris Johnson deliberately starved schoolchildren by outsourcing free school meals to a very expensive company – because it was part of the so-called ‘chumocracy’.
The government had promised to provide £30 to feed children for periods lasting 10 days.
But rather than giving vouchers to parents so they could buy the food themselves, or even tasking local authorities to do it, the Department for Education outsourced the job to private, profit-making firms.
£30.00 food voucher direct to family for £30.00 of food to feed starving kids = socialism = bad.
£30.00 to private Co. to provide £5.00 of food to starving kids and pocket £25.00 for shareholders and CEO = Capitalism = Good?
I call it disgusting.
— Tom. Just wear a mask, FFS! Esq. 🇪🇺🇬🇧 (@tominfrance) January 12, 2021
One of these firms is called Chartwells. It seems it won the contract as part of the so-called ‘chumocracy’ – it is part of the food service giant Compass Group whose former chairman, Paul Walsh, was once a member of David Cameron’s business advisory group.
Chartwells have always been ridiculously expensive. When hosting visitors in my last university they charged exorbitant amounts for vacuum pump containers of really awful ‘coffee’. The whole system stinks.
— Rick Fisher (@drpie53) January 12, 2021
Instead of putting all £30 into food hampers for hungry children, it seems Chartwells provided just £5.22 worth of food and kept the remaining £24.78 as profit.
Food parcels have been brought in to replace £30 vouchers given to parents to spend in supermarkets as schools close for remote learning. But one mum valued the contents of her parcel at no more than £5.22, if bought from Asda.
She was given two jacket potatoes, a can of beans, eight single cheese slices, a loaf of bread, two carrots, three apples, two Soreen Malt Lunchbox Loaves, three Frubes, some pasta and one tomato.
Chartwells has protested that it followed Department for Education guidelines – which throws the blame back towards the Tories – but has also admitted that details of the contents of its hampers do not conform with its own specifications.
Whichever way you slice it, someone has been creaming cash from this scheme and allowing children to starve – and the only reason they’ve managed it is because of the Tory obsession with privatisation.
The Tories are starving children & have been for a long time. We cannot ignore this. pic.twitter.com/wpe5cwKEto
— Simone✊🏽❤️ (@Slimbo32) January 12, 2021
It is a ridiculous state of affairs. Everybody in the Tory government, from Johnson down, knows that giving a contract to a private company means it will keep some of the cash for itself.
So a claim to be providing £30 to feed children is a lie. They were always providing £30 to their friends in food companies.
Sadly, many of the parents whose children are now being forced to starve on pennies-worth of food per day actually voted for this treatment in December 2019.
An awful lot of people will say that the food in the right hand photo is all that poor kids deserve, /because/ they are poor. They’re the same people that watch Benefits Street and other shows demonising poor people. https://t.co/3UzaEtGC1P
— Ella (@latentexistence) January 12, 2021
The question has to be asked: why weren’t vouchers provided to parents?
Was it because another Tory – Ben Bradley – put out a false claim that they would squander the money on “crack dens” and “brothels”, even though the vouchers that existed at the time specifically prohibited their use for such purposes?
This Tory MP spread this story and refused to apologise. The effect was to fix in people's minds the idea that food vouchers were being exchanged for crack, thus justifying lucrative contracts to companies to leech our tax money. Again. #ToriesStarveKids https://t.co/cD0kI8WCE8
— CrémantCommunarde#ActivistLawyer 🕊️⚖️ ✋💙 (@0Calamity) January 12, 2021
It only takes a piece of fake news like this from one influential source to influence large numbers of people into believing the lie, and I wonder whether this was what enabled the Tory government to starve children in the way it has.
Think of it this way: Isn’t it odd that many people get outraged at the (faked) possibility of someone spending a fraction of a food voucher on alcohol (more likely than Bradley’s choices but still impossible) – but don’t bat an eyelid when private firms take 80 per cent of food vouchers for their own profits?
Perhaps the most pertinent comment on this whole shabby affair is the following:
I think we all agree that we want a government that can turn a £5 food voucher into £30 worth of food rather than the other way around?
— Mr Cole (@mattjacole) January 12, 2021
Sadly, it would have been necessary for millions of people to have voted a different way in 2019 for that to have happened. And something stopped them:
When I see hundreds of tweets expressing understandable outrage over the latest #FreeSchoolMeals fiasco, I just think of the hundreds of Labour MPs, staffers and grandees who worked their socks off to destroy Labour's electoral chances under Corbyn! They are more vile than Tories
— Chelley Ryan (@chelleryn99) January 12, 2021
A Corbyn government wouldn't have allowed a private company to steal our children's food for profit.
A Corbyn government would have funded our children properly.
Those who smeared Corbyn (you know who you are) are responsible for this.
All of you.
— simon maginn (@simonmaginn) January 12, 2021
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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