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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:
squidzin · 22/09/2015 21:03

We should just have food-banks parked up outside all schools and be done with it

Sixweekstowait · 22/09/2015 21:24

Well given how amazingly wonderful this government is in running the economy, I find it slightly strange that George is now only thinking of this when they put it in their bloody manifesto that FSM would continue. For me that's the issue - the argument about whether there should be FSM is a different issue

BrandNewAndImproved · 22/09/2015 21:30

It's the schools that have been paying for the fsm. It hasn't come from gov funds and frankly the schools have bigger things to pay for then fsm for all.

roamer2 · 22/09/2015 23:29

I was not a fan of free school meals - would rather the money was spent on teaching assistants, resources, outings, clubs etc - and was unsure of nutritional value especially for fussy children.

However now that millions have been spent on rebuilding school kitchens etc (that had been lost in the 80s) it would be a terrible waste of money if universal fsm were to go

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore · 23/09/2015 08:06

However now that millions have been spent on rebuilding school kitchens etc (that had been lost in the 80s) it would be a terrible waste of money if universal fsm were to go

That's a valid point. And won't it mean jobs being lost as well?

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore · 23/09/2015 08:07

And generally it's women in those particular jobs - so women and children are taking the hit again.

Alfieisnoisy · 23/09/2015 08:22

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

Funnily enough the last Labour Government recognised this and set up Children's Centres which did all these things.

Then the Conservatives got in and closed loads of them down.

ReallyTired · 23/09/2015 09:37

Children centres were a massive white elephant. In my area middle class wealthy parents swiftly colonised the children centre and its activites. Low income families lost out becuase they were not organised enough to book places on free activities three months in a advance. Low income families lost out because the health visiting service was cut to pay for all the fancy children's centres.

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

In my area many parents have absolutely no desire to attend parenting classes. The type of parent who actually attends a parenting class tends to be the sort of parent who least needs one. I know that mumsnet hates health visitors, but health visitors are effective at spotting parents who need support. (Whether its wanted or not!)

Jill Kirby of the centre-Right Centre for Policy Studies think tank, said: "Sure Start has created a new layer of bureaucracy, taken money and time from health visitors and other key workers, and failed to provide families with support and guidance."

Tax payer's money has to be carefully aimed and audited. I wish ideas could be tested on a smaller scale rather than wasting billions of pounds.

BrandNewAndImproved · 23/09/2015 09:43

I actually work as a school cook. We have been told that out jobs are as secure as anyone else's even though we were recruited due to the extremely higher numbers. Our contracts are the same as everyone else's so they can't just say oh sorry your being made redundant. The most likely outcome is people will be moved around to different council kitchen jobs in nursing homes, meals on wheels ect. But the cooks and assistants who work for private companies like Eden who have took contracts over from the council probably aren't as secure.

starlight2007 · 23/09/2015 12:05

Sorry BrandNew but they can say you are redundant..Esp new staff as it will cost nothing to get rid of..I know in our Authority there is a very high turn over of staff so also easy to reduce by not replacing staff.

They did trial is somewhere can't remember where.. I think I remember reading they had huge resources pumped into them though so wasn't a rue reflection anyway

BlueBrightFuture · 23/09/2015 14:18

It was a naf idea in the first place. It would be much better to provide meals for those who need it regardless of age.

LieselVonTwat · 23/09/2015 16:30

I don't think punishing infants for the recession is an inaccurate way to phrase it. It's a cut, affecting infants, some of whom will suffer because of it, and the justification that's being given for the cuts is the economic situation flowing from the recession.

That said, it's an obvious one to go for. There are a great many things it would be worse to cut. My eldest will be eligible from next year if it's still in place then, and it would be a nice freebie. But we can manage without it. It's not really right for us, who can pay our bills without difficulty, to be given something we could pay for while there are people really suffering. Not that I trust the savings from this to be redistributed to poorer kids, mind.

Graciescotland · 23/09/2015 23:37

I thought that part of the reason for fsm for ks1 was so children were used to eating school dinners and would carry on having school dinners in ks2 and beyond effectively subsidising the provision of school meals to those still entitled to free meals. Was I wrong?

puddymuddles · 24/09/2015 10:10

I think the free meals should be available for ALL primary children whose parent/s receive child benefit. This would help the squeezed middle classes and the poorer families alike and I agree no need for the free meals for the rich.

ReallyTired · 24/09/2015 10:25

The rules on child benefit are daft. A single parent earning 60k would be denied free school meals under your system, but a family with two parents earning 49k would get free school meals.

The rich often use private schools. I would prefer universal free school meals in state schools paid for by reducing child benefit. Maybe a breakfast club for low income families.

CookieMonsterIsOnADiet · 26/09/2015 10:37

Good, I hope they are scrapped. Schools should be able to spend money on teachers and resources not food.

That's down to parents to provide food as a very basic of being a parent. If that's not happening then a free meal at school will not solve anything really for the child.

ReallyTired · 26/09/2015 11:01

There was research that showed that universal free school meals increased attainment. It may well be the case that universal free school meals is a better way of closing the gap between rich and poor than extra TA

Free school meals for all 'boost results'

Pupils using teaching assistants make less progress

The question for politicans is how do we make best use of our resources as a country. If the poorest of our children benefit from universal school meals then how should it be paid for? Should schools with high levels of deprivation have universal free school meals? Should the threshold for fsm be raised?

CookieMonsterIsOnADiet · 26/09/2015 12:08

Parents could pay for the meal, most get child benefit, and then the school is free to use the money that paid for meals on the children's education. TA support can be poor but specially trained staff in interventions can have a huge impact.

It should never have got to the stage where schools need to feed children as some parents don't. They would have spent less involving agencies to just target the neglectful parents.

AnyoneButAndre · 26/09/2015 12:21

I think it's a no-brainer. Scrap universal FSM for KS1, expand FSM for KS1, KS2 and secondary to include WTC recipients. That should keep the new kitchens in use, without giving the likes of my family a subsidy we don't need. And with modern payment systems there's absolutely no need to stigmatise the recipients of FSM - they all just queue up and put their finger on the scanner (or put a card in the slot).

clam · 26/09/2015 12:40

Oh ffs, OP, why not just re-phrase your opening post with "I hate the fucking Tories, they're all bastards" and move aside from using the Free School Meals thing as your vehicle.

It was a bloody stupid idea in the first place and only ever brought in to shut the Lib Dems up and get some other Tory plan through as a trade-off. A huge number of people who are very comfortably off get this perk and don't need it, and children in poverty who benefited before will still be eligible.

Drama over. Move along please.

Alfieisnoisy · 26/09/2015 12:44

Yep this is a non issue, I don't know why it was introduced in the first place. The well off don't need it and those who do will still get them.

I generally DO hate the Tories but can't get overexcited about this FSM thing. Far more to be concerned with.

Then again with the cuts coming in I would hope we'd see an increase in eligibility for FSM for those facing the biggest cuts in tax credits.

HugoBear · 26/09/2015 13:24


It was a bloody stupid idea in the first place

Written by someone who has no inkling of the stigma attached to FSMs and the issues around trying to get all children to have a balanced diet.


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AnyoneButAndre · 26/09/2015 13:33

I agree that there are good motivations behind UFSM - eg kitchen space permitting it's much more cost effective to cater for 90% of children in a school than 25%. And it means that parents who are above the cutoff but still broke, or just nutritionally laissez faire, will take up the normally nutritionally better school meal option. It's not a stupid idea by any means, but there are other reasonable ways of approaching the situation.

clam · 26/09/2015 13:43

"Written by someone who has no inkling of the stigma attached to FSMs and the issues around trying to get all children to have a balanced diet."

Actually, written by a teacher with 30 years' experience who knows exactly how the system works, thanks all the same. Even I, the class teacher, have no idea off-hand who qualifies for FSM in my class.

LilyTucker · 27/09/2015 08:11

Agree with Clam.

Also you really do need to see on a daily basis what utter shite kids are eating under the fsm system.

The niavity concerning obesity and TAs is immense. Fsm don't stop obese kids from eating crap. They refuse veg,fill up on puddings and carbs at school and then starving hungry feast on crap their parents bring to the school gate at the end of the day and meals at home.

Re TAs they run/cover crucial intervention measures such as Funfit,Thrive,phonic groups,IEPs etc,etc. They'll be needed even more with the new curriculum imvho as all kids need to attain each area of the curriculum. Unless you want the more able twiddling their thumbs providing tops ups for those struggling will surely be crucial.Kids aren't robots after all.

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