Scrapping free school lunches would waste £2,474,003 spent upgrading kitchens in Hertfordshire

Plans by Theresa May to axe free school lunches would waste the £2,474,003 invested in Hertfordshire to upgrade school kitchens, according to the Liberal Democrats.

It comes after figures revealed 34,532 children in Hertfordshire are set to lose out under the Conservative proposals.

When in government, the Liberal Democrats invested £160m upgrading school kitchen facilities to enable them to prepare hot lunches, including almost £2.5m in Herts.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Broxbourne commented:

“The Liberal Democrats in government invested £160m to give schools the kitchens they needed to ensure that no infant would go hungry, including £2.5m in Hertfordshire.

“This policy was extremely successful and guaranteed that local children received at least two of their five a day in their school lunch.

“But now Theresa May is threatening to throw that money down the drain.

“A Conservative measure designed to save money will waste money. Not only is it heartless, it is bad economics.

“I challenge my Conservative opponent to say whether, if elected, he would vote against their own party to ensure that children in Broxbourne receive a decent lunch.

“The Liberal Democrats will protect free school lunches for infants and ensure all primary school children can get a healthy, free lunch a day.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The government announced £150 million of funding to upgrade school facilities in 2015 (link)

An additional £10 million of funding was announced in 2015 to support the schools which most needed it (link)

The Liberal Democrats introduced free school meals when in government and have committed in their manifesto to extend free school meals to all primary school pupils (link, p.30)

Conservative plans will take lunches away from 34,532 children in HERTS

34,532 schoolchildren in Hertfordshire will lose out on free lunches, under plans announced in the Conservative manifesto.

Free school lunches for pupils from reception to Year 2 were introduced by the Liberal Democrats in government, but Theresa May now plans to scrap them. The changes would cost families an average extra £480 a year for every child.

The Liberal Democrats have called on Conservative candidate Charles Walker to make it clear whether or not he would vote for the plans.

The Conservatives are also proposing to make older people pay for social care costs from the value of their own homes when they die. This means on average, families in Broxbourne would expect to see 71.90% of the value of their home spent on care costs.

Liberal Democrat Andy Graham commented:

“This Conservative manifesto shows the nasty party is back.

“Margaret Thatcher was known as the milk snatcher, it seems Theresa May will go down as the lunch snatcher.

“She is cynically snatching meals away from thousands of children in Hertfordshire, while the elderly receiving care in their own home will face a ‘Personal Death Tax’ charged against their home.

“Charles Walker must now come clean over whether he will vote to take away free lunches from the children of hard-pressed families.

“The Liberal Democrats will offer a brighter future by extending free school meals to all primary schools.

“We will stand up to Theresa May’s cold, mean-spirited Britain, protecting those that need the most help and fighting for more funding for our schools and hospitals.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Figures on the number of children per school and local authority benefiting from universal infant free school meals can be found here. Universal free school meals for infant pupils (up to Year 2) were introduced by the Liberal Democrats in coalition government. Currently the government subsidises lunches for infants by £2.30 – these changes will mean removing £480 subsidy per child, per year.

Under Conservative proposals, for the first time, many people who receive care at home will have their home taken into account, to meet the costs when they die. This will apply to the almost half a million people who receive domiciliary care in the UK. Figures on the share of the average family home expected to be spent on social care costs can be found here, based on calculations provided by Royal London

Letter on Free School Meals

I would like to publicly ask the Conservative candidate at this election Charles Walker if they will vote in favour of denying kids in reception, year one and year two a hot school lunch if they are elected to the House of Commons on June 8th or if they will commit to the Liberal Democrat plan to extend free school meals to all kids at primary school?

The Conservative manifesto shows the nasty party is back. Theresa May wants to take away free school meals from kids in reception, year one and year two even though all the evidence shows that it helps kids academically.

Theresa May has made the wrong choice. By cruelly snatching away these hot meals tens of thousands of kids in Hertfordshire will lose out, and it will cost families £480 a year per kid. For a family with 2 kids that’s almost £1,000 a year, a betrayal of working families and breaks the promise they made only two years ago at the last election.

There is of course another way. A different choice. My party, the Liberal Democrats would introduce free school meals for all primary school children, so that the benefits to kids’ education currently limited to infants can be extended to all. That is a much better choice.

Liberal Democrats want to give all children a brighter future in a fairer Britain where people are decent to each other.