Labour attack Tory ‘shame’ over school meals cut
Labour has spoken out against Tory plans to cut free schools meals for the youngest children in primary schools in Bolton as the parties unveiled their manifestos.
The pledge has drawn criticism with an estimated 900,000 children from struggling working families to be hit by the proposed cut.
Sir David Crausby, Labour’s Candidate for Bolton North East, said: “Margaret Thatcher’s nickname was Thatcher the Milk Snatcher now the Tories are at it again; May wants to take away our children’s free school meals”
“What the Tories are offering shames our country. In the economic uncertainty many working families live in – largely due to the poverty wages endured by many in Bolton – it really beggars belief that the Tories could take away something that was making a real difference and supporting so many”
Mr Crausby, added: “In Bolton, Labour have campaigned and delivered on providing free schools meals – as well as being amongst the cheapest in the country. Locally Labour have built on this by providing funding for free breakfasts for all our primary school children in Bolton and the take up of and outcome of this funding has been excellent.”
Research by the National Centre for Social Research and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) to say the free meals policy would improve pupils’ productivity and enable them to advance by around two months on average.
Labour have pledged to maintain free schools meals and extend the offer to all primary school children which will be funded by adding VAT on private education fees – currently exempt from the tax – to raise £1 billion.
Councillor Linda Thomas, Deputy Leader of Bolton Council, said: “Free school meals have never been more essential since austerity began under the Tories in 2010. This is about making sure our youngest children have a nutritional meal at lunchtime.It helps with their concentration in class during the afternoon which in turn helps to raise their attainment.
“Providing a healthy meal is an essential part of our children’s development and is important along with increased activity in combatting the obesity problem in this country. I have grandchildren of my own and want the best for them as I do for all our Bolton children.”