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Free school lunches scrapped as children pay price for causing recession

78 replies

blacksunday · 21/09/2015 09:49

BRITAIN’S infants will finally be made to pay for causing the financial crash of 2008.

Free school lunches are expected to be scrapped later this year as chancellor George Osborne punishes children for engineering the credit crunch by trading in high-risk, sub-prime mortgages.

He said: “By removing their free mash potato and lukewarm peas we send a strong message that free markets only succeed when managed responsibly.

“These children threatened the livelihoods of thousands of innocent merchant bankers who just want to be happy.”

Six year-old Tom Booker admitted: “The party’s over. In retrospect, it was wrong of me to claim free lunches at the taxpayers’ expense while running a Dubai-based hedge fund.

“Luckily, I’ve accumulated about £8 million in emerging market tech stocks so I should be able to afford a sad little hotdog and a box of Ribena.”

OP posts:
blacksunday · 21/09/2015 12:27

Do you think the Tories are likely to replace blanket free meals for public school children with means tested meals, or do you think this argument that it is 'inefficient' is just a cover to scrap the whole idea?

I mean, it's not like the Tories already haven't made thousands of people homeless, or increased foodbank usage several fold, or killed thousands of disabled people or anything.

It's not like they would have any scruples about taking away meals for children whose parents can't afford to feed them.

OP posts:
sliceofsoup · 21/09/2015 12:30

The satire is irrelevant, as this is actually being discussed widely at the minute.

I am confused OP. How is removing school meals for all children, but keeping the means testing meaning that the children in poverty are losing out?

I live in NI. We never had universal school meals. We do have FSM for households with an income under £16190. That income doesn't take into account tax credits, child benefit or housing benefit. A couple with two children on one wage of £13k would have a take home income per year of over £20k once all the benefits are taken into account. That family would also be eligible for FSM. I cannot see how that income is seen as poverty.

Single parents on income support, or part time wages will also be eligible for FSM.

I am not sure why we would be arguing to keep FSM for children of parents on decent incomes. It should only go to those who need it.

Isitmebut · 21/09/2015 12:30

Hoppinggreen ... thank you.

Re means testing, do we know if schools already means test every parent, or would this mean the time consuming, costly red tape, and every parent sending in a single/joint P60 into the school every year?

sliceofsoup · 21/09/2015 12:36

That link was updated on 15 sept 2015 and is for England and Wales.

The means testing is happening for children who are not in years 1 and 2. So why wouldn't it be extended to those children when the universal FSM is scrapped?

Much ado about nothing FFS.

blacksunday · 21/09/2015 12:38


Here are some of the arguments for keeping universal free school meals:

OP posts:
blacksunday · 21/09/2015 12:39


OP posts:
blacksunday · 21/09/2015 12:40

Wow. Not sure what's going on. I'm having some problems posting.

Try this link, slice-

OP posts:
MorrisZapp · 21/09/2015 12:45

How is the one third of all children living in poverty stat calculated?

Isitmebut · 21/09/2015 12:46

"I mean, it's not like the Tories already haven't made thousands of people homeless, or increased foodbank usage several fold, or killed thousands of disabled people or anything."

Whereas the Labour Party with hundreds of £billions to spend during the best decade in 100-years, according to Shelter, left before the 2010 General Election 1.7 million families (5 million individuals) in a queue for social housing, a banking crisis where people could not get mortgages - and didn't bother to mention food banks to those out of work or saw real incomes fall from 2008.


The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) publishesfigures on house building dating from the 1940s up to 2008. The statistics back up the Shadow Culture Secretary’s claim.

Between 1979 and 1996 the total building for houses by local authorities and by registered social landlords was 913,690, while from 1997 to 2008 building totalled a significantly lower 290,750.

Given that the last Conservative Government was in power for 18 years and the DCLG figures only cover Labour’s first 11 years it is worth looking at the average building under each Government.

Again the figures back up Mr Hunt. Between 1979 and 1996 an average of 50,761 new homes in the social housing sector were built, compared to 24,299 from 1997-2008.

sliceofsoup · 21/09/2015 12:49

I read the article.

I'm afraid I am still not convinced. Going by that article, we have bigger problems than FSM.

The root causes of the issues need addressed. Maybe spend that £600mil on parenting classes. If there is a widespread problem with lack of knowledge regarding nutrition, priorities and budgeting that needs addressed first.

sliceofsoup · 21/09/2015 12:50

Sorry, that was re the ops article.

blacksunday · 21/09/2015 12:56

Sure - the root causes. Well, not making people homeless with the bedroom tax, or not putting disabled people on the street or killing them by withdrawing their support, or not removing tax breaks for the poorest, or not closing Sure Start centres, etc. etc.

You can always invent an excuse why money shouldn't be spent on the poorest.

Either you agree with social security spending or you don't. Ensuring children are well fed, so they can concentrate and perform well at school, so they can get a good education and become educated and healthy adults is not only one of the most morally sound principles I can think of, but it also makes profound economic sense as well.

Budget 2015: A shameless, unmitigated attack on the poor, the young and families

The people the furthest away from the financial crash are being asked to bear the brunt of the economic meltdown

OP posts:
blacksunday · 21/09/2015 12:57

Instead of making sure children have school meals, we should support what the Tories have done instead:

Cut corporation tax, raise MPs salaries, cut tax for the wealthiest incomes, increase subsidies for the Monarchy.

That sounds more reasonable and fair to me.,

OP posts:
sliceofsoup · 21/09/2015 13:01

OP, you are claiming that this is another attack on the poor. But it simply isn't. The poor will still be eligible for FSM under the current means testing criteria.

I agree with you on all the other points. I despise the tories, and the damage they are doing. But removing universal FSM is NOT an attack on the poor.

If you want to argue about removing the help from those who just fall outside tax credit thresholds then make that argument. But that is a different argument to the one you are currently making.

BaronessEllaSaturday · 21/09/2015 13:06

The problem with the way fsm entitlement works is that the working poor often don't qualify so the single mum working part time say 16 hours a week because that is all she can find with 2 school aged children will not qualify for free school meals for those children because she will be entitled to working tax credit. Working tax credit automatically stops your entitlement to fsm irrespective of how little you earn. People assume that those on low incomes are always entitled but it simply isn't true.

starlight2007 · 21/09/2015 13:11

OP, you are claiming that this is another attack on the poor. But it simply isn't. The poor will still be eligible for FSM under the current means testing criteria.

You can apply for free school meals if you or your child receive any of the following:

Income Support
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
The Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
Child Tax Credit, provided they are not entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual income of £16,190 or less
Working Tax Credit 'run-on' - the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit.

This means those on WTC cannot claim FSM no matter how low the income and this is my bug bear with the whole FSM criteria

Isitmebut · 21/09/2015 13:14

"Well, not making people homeless with the bedroom tax, or not"

Well with 1.7 million families needing council/social bedrooms under Labour, and over 800,000 UNUSED bedrooms not be used as bedrooms by arguably those less needy - only those more worried about political point scoring and a few people with iron lungs/oxygen tanks in those rooms that local authorities with brains SHOULD exempt - would both call the official Spare Room Subsidy' a bedroom tax rather than be concerned about those 1.7 million families needing bedrooms.

It seems socialism was worried more about those trying to to be encouraged to 'trade down' with some payment incentive, than those less fortunate they left on the homeless list.

sliceofsoup · 21/09/2015 13:19

Here in NI WTC is included in the criteria. I don't understand why it isn't in England.

That is the real issue then. Because that affects far far more people than the removal of UFSM will.

godsavethequeeeen · 21/09/2015 13:28

I earn £8k but also receive WTC so couldn't claim FSM before they became universal.

blacksunday · 21/09/2015 13:52

Well, there you go.

If we assume that 1/3rd of people who are means tested would receive meals (based on the poverty statistic), then the difference in cost between UFSM and means-tested is £400 million.

The UK budget (just the revenue) is roughly £650 billion, this UFSM amounts to a cost of less than 1/100th of one percentage of the total budget.

Given that we waste so much money on tax breaks for the monarchy, millionaires and corporations... the argument is that we can afford to pay £400 million to ensure that every child who goes to school is well fed.

OP posts:
Isitmebut · 21/09/2015 14:19

the argument is that we can afford to pay £400 million to ensure that every child who goes to school is well fed.

So until they announce otherwise, REJOICE.

LilyTucker · 22/09/2015 17:06

I hope they do.

It was utter madness in the first place.

Giving free food to wealthy families in KS1 yet letting poorer kids in KS2 and 3 go hungry is ridiculous.

If families on 40k are going to lose CB as they are deemed wealthy then frankly families on more getting free food and help with childcare is a nonsense.

However I also think WFA and bus passes for the wealthy should be axed too. Bet they aren't.


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AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore · 22/09/2015 18:52

That's the issue I have with it too. The working poor are ones that are going to be hardest hit by these new tax credit cuts coming in, and they're also the ones that will be hit by a withdrawal of FSMs, as anyone on WTC is not eligible for FSMs. So they're going to be hit from both sides, simply because they're trying to support themselves, but not making a large amount of money.

LilyTucker · 22/09/2015 19:33

They could up the threshold at the same time as stopping the universal element.

LilyTucker · 22/09/2015 19:57

Would like to add under the current scheme every child going to school isn't well fed. The poorer kids in ks2 or 3 certainly aren't and there is a huge amount of waste. I've seen it. Many choose the same old jacket potato with zero veg day after day. Kids leave the first course and fill up on pudding. I rarely see kids with much veg on their plates and the little that is often ends up in the bin.

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