Ruth Cadbury, Member of Parliament for Brentford and Isleworth, has expressed her ‘shock’ and the news that the Governments ‘Free School Meal’ policy is to be reviewed, and will be writing to the Education Secretary demanding clarification.
Ms Cadbury stated “The provision of a free school meal is vital in so many ways. For some children, it may be their only substantial meal of the day. It is a reassurance to working parents. In Hounslow over 3,000 pupils, or 15% of total pupils, are eligible for free school meals. Schools have gone to great lengths to implement this scheme, and the Government is slamming the door in their faces before even properly evaluating it. At the same time the government is cutting tax credits for working families. This is simply not acceptable.”
Cllr Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services said "The universal free school meals initiative was designed to ensure that every Infant aged pupil could sit down to a hot, healthy lunch every day in the company of their class mates. When the initiative was announced in 2013, the Tory-led government said they were determined to do all they can to help put money back in the pockets of families struggling with the cost of living.
Families will understandably feel betrayed by a decision to scrap this initiative and despite the Tories pledging to protect school funding as part of their manifesto in May, what we are seeing now is a Tory government that is willing go back on their promises at the expense of our children’s education. Scrapping universal free school meals would only pile more pressure on families income and may have a detrimental impact on children already living in poverty.”
Ms Cadbury added “Cutting costs for the sake of it is not good enough. There needs to be an acknowledgement that spending money in certain areas has benefits. A country like ours should continue to provide basic provisions to our children.”