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to think a £7500 income cap on free school meals is a deathwish?

(425 Posts)
thirdhill Thu 19-Apr-12 11:57:42

I'm so shocked to see the Children's Society analysis reported in most papers today about proposals to introduce a £7500 income cap on free school meals.

My initial reaction is this is sheer vindictiveness, taking away a meal from kids in dire need. Will the money spent on a daily lunch for a few children save our economy? Or perhaps we can be relied on to not care anymore? Or is there a wider picture nobody is reporting? My understanding is that the present income cap is £16k, which already seems a challenge for a family of say four.

Sarah Teather, the Minister, is a lib dem MP but this must tar both parties for many and seems an absolute deal breaker for mobile voters. Straw that broke the camel's back, death wish, etc.

Curious if anyone knows any more to this.


asuwere Thu 19-Apr-12 13:26:16

Free school meals are only given if parents don't work or work too little hours to claim WTC. I'm kinda with Samandi - it's up to these parents to earn enough to pay for their children. I know it's not a popular point of view and there will be plenty people saying it's not possible but for the majority of people, they should be able to earn enough to keep their children.

We have 3 children, I work, we don't get any benefits (other than CTC and CB) and make packed lunches as can't afford school dinners. A family member also has 3 children; they get income support, rent paid, council tax paid, CTC, CB, maintenance (tax free!) and free school meals. They also have more disposible income than I do. There needs to be a lot of changes to the system to sort this out. It shouldn't pay to not work.

I can understand why the free school meals would be picked up on first as it won't on the whole effect the 'poorest' as if they're on benefits, they would still qualify.

ivykaty44 Thu 19-Apr-12 13:28:27

we don't get any benefits (other than CTC and CB)

then you get benefits confused

plenty of people work and get benefits

happyinherts Thu 19-Apr-12 13:28:48

Surely it's just levelling out the present inequalities and unfairness of the system.

A family with £7500 income would surely get working tax credit thereby bringing their income up to around £16K dependent upon number of children and therefore they would spend money on school meals.

At present any family working on a very low wage don't even qualify for free school meals.

tenby22 Thu 19-Apr-12 13:29:32

Plus does that mean fundingfor schools will also be cut. After all school are paid a premium for each child on FSM. Double bonus for Governement.

Bramshott Thu 19-Apr-12 13:29:56

Shockingly low income threshold - even full time @ NMW is about £10,000 a year.

However, I suspect it'll be another on of those "let's tell them the worst case scenario first, then make it slightly better and expect everyone to be grateful" policies. In a couple of months they will announce a "re-think in response to public feedback" and announce that they new threshold will actually be £10,000 hmm.

TheRealMrsHannigan Thu 19-Apr-12 13:31:00

asuwere Look at your post, you said yousrelf someone who is unemployed with rent paid etc has more disposable income than you, who are working. This will hit the poorest. You don't have to be unemployed to be poor.

People working as part tiem retail staff or supermarket staff, or dinner ladies, lollipop men/women, etc working few hours, often unable to get any more hours at work, do not earn a lot of money. Those are the people this will hit.

StealthPolarBear Thu 19-Apr-12 13:33:01

"Add message | Report | Message poster flatpackhamster Thu 19-Apr-12 12:53:11

If you commit to this expenditure, what will you cut in order to pay for it?"

I've said it before and I'll say it again. They need to bite the bullet and raise taxes to a level that will sort this mess out.

sophsamjam Thu 19-Apr-12 13:33:13

I agree that if this is true then it is wrong. My children used to have packed lunches but since I had dc3 in December I switched them over the dinners to make my life a bit easier (yes I am lucky to be in a position to do that). Their dinners seem to be good to be fair. Some days better than others but overall good. They are not cheap I have just had to shell out £203 for 2 children to take us to the end of the school year. That is a lot of money to find at the minute even if you were on £20k nevermind £7.5k

This policy is wrong and cannot be allowed - for some children it will be the only decent meal they get all day and not because the parents are lazy but because they can't afford to provide more.

Please however don't start knocking the wealthy - it is bordering on reverse snobbery. Through sheer hard work, determination, sacrifice etc my husband now earns in excess of £100k - why should we have the hell taxed out of us just because he has been successful. He has taken risks and works flippin hard for his money and because of that he now employs others. You need to be careful not to bash the rich and lump everyone into the same pot.

The poorer do need protecting but that involves making sure companies like Amazon and very wealthy individuals don't tax evade. We also need to hammer the banks more for putting us in this position but ALL of the parties are too scared to do this.

My husband pays a hell of a lot in tax - fair enough - but if it keeps on increasing it will be very demotivating and it will deter people from trying to achieve.

PS I don't want to live in Monaco I want to live in the country of my birth.

crazygracieuk Thu 19-Apr-12 13:34:59


I'd be very interested in how the amount spent on FSM for children from families earning £7501-£15,999 compares with the amount of CB given to parents with incomes of £40k+. Surely scrapping CB for the latter is a better way to save than the former?

If anything, you'd think that increasing the threshold for FSM would be worth considering as it would create jobs and offer more children a nutritious meal.(I'm NOT saying that packed lunches are not nutritious or that low income families will skimp on nutritious food)

StealthPolarBear Thu 19-Apr-12 13:35:05

good thining Bramshott, then everyone will fall over in relief, and the government can tick their "listens to public concerns" box

moomoo1967 Thu 19-Apr-12 13:35:41

As I am eligible for WTC then I am not eligible for free school meals or help with school uniform, I earn just over £10k and am a single parent. Plus my housing benefit has just been cut, I cannot afford to move and my office relocated before Xmas to the next town so now it costs me £50 per month to get to work instead of me being able to cycle.
But apart from all that I consider myself one of the lucky ones, there are kids out there whose parents neglect them so badly that the free school meals would have been the only hot meal they would get each day, it is those families who are going to be the worse off.

Voidka Thu 19-Apr-12 13:37:13

asuwere - so what will happen to all those children with SEN who are not getting the funding any more because this is based on FSM?

Voidka Thu 19-Apr-12 13:38:47

The Children's Society 'Fair and Square' petition

Voidka Thu 19-Apr-12 13:39:12

Posted too soon.

Its a campaign to make sure all children in poverty get free school meals.

Agincourt Thu 19-Apr-12 13:39:27

I think it's about time they started looking at all these self employed contractors who earn ridiculous money p/h and then put it into a private companies and only pay 20% tax whilst those who are on permanent wages over 40k are paying 40% instead of taking free school dinners off the working poor

There is so much MORE they could be doing to increase tax revenue without implementing every single ridiculous and mean minded cut

flatpackhamster Thu 19-Apr-12 13:40:22


Why should taxpayers pay for this? I don't want to pay for it. I think taxes are far too high already, and that government - particularly central government - does too much. Government already (according to the most recent figures I can find) spends 40% of our GDP. France, Norway and Finland spend around 44%.

I recognise that it's an issue, but I don't see that it's an issue that can be solved, in the way that some people tend to, by taking more of other people's money. How is that generous? It's like someone saying "I'm cold" and you saying "Here's Dave's coat". It's cost you nothing to do that.

If you feel that strongly about it, then why not contact your local school, and find out how many children are on free school meals, and arrange with a group of mums that each of you will cook the food one day a week for those children.

StealthPolarBear Thu 19-Apr-12 13:41:12

Sue the official figures for children in poverty don't take fsm into account, just WTC or income support (i think, but def not fsm)

Voidka Thu 19-Apr-12 13:42:14

So do you think if they cut the threshold your taxes will go down?

goingmadinthecountry Thu 19-Apr-12 13:44:28

I've taught in some pretty deprived areas and know that some of my tutor group didn't always get decent hot meals outside school.

It's beyond belief. Children will definitely go hungry because of this. Or at least more parents will, because they'll send the food off with their dcs and do without.

Agincourt Thu 19-Apr-12 13:46:15

I think there need to be tougher penalties for people evading paying tax either altogether or using tax loopholes in order to pay less tax but pay themselves more.

I don't understand why this isn't being looked at before looking at cutting school meals and lollipop ladies fgs

StealthPolarBear Thu 19-Apr-12 13:49:30

Flatpack, yes I would rather people who earn a decent amount pay slightly more tax than chidren in poverty go hungry. No, I will not be cooking meals for children at the local school.

WibblyBibble Thu 19-Apr-12 13:52:13

I'm going to just post that repeatedly* until people STFU about 'their' taxes and how they want them to be spent like the bunch of whining overgrown two year olds the average higher rate taxpayer clearly is.

*Not actually true, I'm going to continue with doing my work which is about 500 times harder than your whiny arsed husbands' work and yet miraculously doesn't pay £100k.

asuwere Thu 19-Apr-12 13:53:23

"People working as part tiem retail staff or supermarket staff, or dinner ladies, lollipop men/women, etc working few hours, often unable to get any more hours at work, do not earn a lot of money. Those are the people this will hit."

These people will still qualify though if they aren't working enough hours for WTC and are on less than £7500 or am I missing something!?

"asuwere - so what will happen to all those children with SEN who are not getting the funding any more because this is based on FSM?"
What is SEN?!

Bramshott Thu 19-Apr-12 13:53:38

Oh come on people, we are a rich country, we are NOT in such dire straights that we cannot afford to provide a hot meal at lunchtime for children from the poorest families. Something that will help them to concentrate at school, reduce disruption and inprove outcomes. We shouldn't even be having this debate.

StealthPolarBear Thu 19-Apr-12 13:54:57


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