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£7500 income cap proposed for free school meals

(20 Posts)
thirdhill Thu 19-Apr-12 11:23:47

The Children's Society analysis of the Government's proposals, as in most newspapers today.

It seems to me to be impossible to defend a new income cap directly affecting children in indisuptably poverty. The current income cap is about £16k which is already challenging to live on for a family of say four. Has the Government got a death wish, my initial response was, this is sheer vindictiveness, what could it possibly mean but children in dire need missing a meal?

Really curious to see if there is anyone who thinks this is OK? Or is there a wider picture that nobody is reporting?


OP’s posts: |
minimathsmouse Thu 19-Apr-12 12:40:09

More than 350,000 children could lose their free school meals under the Government's planned welfare reforms, a charity has warned

Absolutely disgraceful. This Government of the wealthy, for the wealthy are a disgraceful bunch of morons. angry

I assume the big society should step in, we'll have more and more churches and food banks feeding starving families whilst our elected swan around supping champers with their rich buddies in business.

noddyholder Thu 19-Apr-12 12:41:27

Disgraceful for some children this is their main source of a decent meal

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 21-Apr-12 17:48:18

I think the wider picture stems from free school meals being funded by the Department of Education budget and not the DWP's. I think, in the move towards replacing bits and pieces of benefits with a single Universal Credit administered by the DWP, this anomaly has been overlooked.

happyinherts Sat 21-Apr-12 17:53:31

The current eligibility criteria for free school meals is not £16K - many, many working families earning far less do not qualify for free meals but there has hardly been the big hoo ha about it all

A poster on a thread similar to this only this week reported that on an income of £8K did not qualify for meals for children. If you have a low wage topped up by wftc you do not qualify and never have done.

i dont think too many children will miss out if this proposal comes into effect. If you are earning only £7500 you have wage topped up with wftc and didn't qualify for the meals - so what you never had you never miss. I do agree though that the criteria isnt fair.

Orwellian Tue 24-Apr-12 15:59:30

They should just scrap free school meals altogether. If you want to have kids take responsibility and pay for them yourselves, rather than relying on other taxpayers. Besides, isn't child tax credits/child benefit to pay for the welfare of children? If it isn't spent on feeding their kids what the hell is the benefit being spent on?

slug Tue 24-Apr-12 16:21:55

Keeping a roof over your head? hmm

Betelguese Wed 25-Apr-12 00:59:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmberLeaf Wed 25-Apr-12 01:05:14

happyinherts If you have a low wage topped up by wftc you do not qualify and never have done

Thats right of course, I have been wondering then who this cap will affect?

it surely only leaves benefit claimants?

Codandchops Wed 25-Apr-12 01:09:33

Orwellian I am assuming you receive no child tax credit, no child benefit, don't use state education or the NHS for your children.

If you DO use those things then by your own opinion you are a hypocrite.

I get free school meals for my DS after having been in work and paid taxes for the past 30 years. That okay with you?

niceguy2 Wed 25-Apr-12 09:10:32

Orwellian. In principle I agree with you but that is based on the assumption that all parents are caring and will put the interests of their child first.

I know a few people who are teachers/teaching assistants and dinner ladies. All of them will tell you that there are certain children whom getting a hot cooked school dinner is about the only decent meal they get. If you made their parents pay for it, frankly they wouldn't as they 'can't afford it'. Strange however that the same parents always have enough for fags & booze. (Their words, not mine).

Codandchops Wed 25-Apr-12 10:25:34

Interestingly not all children eligible for FSM actually have them. My son is autistic and most days I make him a packed lunch as the challenges of the environment and the sudden menu changes with school meals can distress him.
I DO claim for the FSM though as it gives extra funding to the school which they can use. Occasionally my DS has a dinner too.

I have never had to live off of benefits before but because there is just myself and DS I find no difficulty in making sure he has an adequate diet. I have a family background which involved home cooking and a variety of meals which can be made easily and cheaply from scratch.

There are sadly many families out there who have not had my background, who have never been taught nutrition and who cannot cook.sad it's the children in these families I worry about.

TotemPole Wed 25-Apr-12 18:16:48

Thats right of course, I have been wondering then who this cap will affect?

It will be families that get CTC but not WTC, so those whose hours are under the threshold for WTC.

AmberLeaf Wed 25-Apr-12 21:00:48

Hours under the threshold or no hours at all?

tethersend Wed 25-Apr-12 21:13:19

Interesting also that FSMs are the main indicator for schools receiving the pupil premium- so indirectly, this would mean a significant cut in funding for schools with the most economically disadvantaged children.

TotemPole Thu 26-Apr-12 06:51:02

As I understand it, if you receive JSA/IS you're automatically eligible for FSMs.

If you work sufficient hours and receive WTC then you're automatically ineligible.

If you work but the hours are under the threshold and only receive CTC then the income is taken into account. This is taxable income so I don't think it would include most benefits.

23 hours, 52 weeks at minimum wage would give an income of £7271. So less than the cap and won't be affected.

Someone working 24 hours would get WTC so, even though it their income is over £7500, they wouldn't have received FSMs anyway.

Obviously, most people don't work 52 weeks.

I'm surprised at the numbers that will be affected. It would be those that earn more than NMW but work less hours. Also, possibly those on low income who receive taxable benefits.

violathing Thu 26-Apr-12 07:02:01

Surely most of the cost of providing school lunches is the staffing, not the ingredients. Once the staff costs are covered by the paying children then the marginal cost of providing a free meal is minimal.

Do any schools make profit from school meals provision?

It is disgraceful that in a rich country we cannot look after our children. Shame on you Cameron

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 26-Apr-12 14:04:34

"I'm surprised at the numbers that will be affected"

As ever, the people who raise these things as being a 'big problem', deliberately overestimate the impact just to cause a stir for their own purposes. Your assessment is probably nearer the mark and there will be a very tiny minority affected.

CardyMow Mon 21-May-12 14:47:27

Erm - Someone on benefits, getting CTC for more than one child, WILL be over this threshold. I assume this means that I will lose the FSM's, which would mean me finding nearly £1.5k pa to cover the cost. And it isn't there. It will be a straight choice of having lunch or dinner, if I am to continue to pay for heat and light. I have TWO dc on 'special' diets. Different 'special' diets - one GF due to coeliac, one dairy, soya, nut free due to severe allergies and anaphylaxis.

I CAN'T afford to pay for another 15 meals a week. There IS no more money left after rent top-up, bus fares (essential) to school, special GF food, Special Dairy, soya, nut free food, Nutramigen that the NHS won't prescribe enough of, and everyday bills.


TotemPole Tue 22-May-12 09:43:14

It says earnings threshold of £7,500.

It doesn't say it's changing the eligibility criteria. So presumably someone on JSA/IS who gets CTC will still be entitled.

So for those on benefits, that don't work, it will be those families who receive over £7,500 in taxable benefits.

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