Free school meals for all pupils in Southwark despite cuts

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Wednesday 13 April 2011 9.57pm
Thursday 14 April 2011 5.49am
crazy! in these days of ever tightening belts and cutbacks here we have another example of Labour-style social engineering. giving benefits to those who dont need them is at the heart is what is wrong with the welfare state. and trying to take away middle class welfare becomes politically impossible later. where did Southwark council find all this spare cash anyway?
Thursday 14 April 2011 8.28am
It was actually an election promise, which, to be fair, they've kept to. If they hadn't there would've been an outcry that they didn't keep their promises. I think the only way to stop it would be to have the electorate release them from the pledge (though I suppose the only mechanism for that would be petitioning your councillors.
Thursday 14 April 2011 9.26am
^ Quite right. They are keeping their promise.

I had free meals at primary -I think its better that kids all eat together, it sets you up for eating properly as an adult - which we know has huge health benefits, which will save the wider government money in the long run.

If it wasn't for the artificial divide between what is 'health' and what is 'education' in our government this would be a no-brainier.

"giving benefits to those who dont need them is at the heart is what is wrong with the welfare state"

- Giving universal benefits that have are good for everyone in the long run is at the heart of what is right about the welfare state.
Thursday 14 April 2011 1.28pm
Got to agree with jamesup on the benefits of this...inclusive group behaiour is exactly what some (all) of our kids need these days and if its based around food, sociability and healthy eating then its win win win....sure the council has other calls on its resources but in the long run this is a great idea regardless of a who can afford school meals for their kids...lets think about the future and not the immediate cost of everything...i am happy that my council tax is being used in this way if it means some other things are being cut back.
Thursday 14 April 2011 2.48pm
It's a wonderful idea for several reasons;

1) it saves disorganised people like my self rummaging around in purses for school dinner money every day.

2) Hopefully the Menus will not include so many fast food items.

3) It would be great if the food was prepared in-house and pupils could see how their meals are prepared.

4) It would stop large numbers of school children leaving school lunchtime hopping the wag!

In 1949 school dinners were graduated according to the ability to pay...3d. or 4d. as I recall.

If all the children get free meals it would pupils who's family finances are below a certain level feeling embarrassed. I had a young cousin who would go without his lunch rather than suffer the indignity of having a free meal ticket!
Thursday 14 April 2011 5.34pm
It was an election promise - though I'm not sure the extent of the cuts to be imposed on councils (and the degree to which they would be front-loaded) were obvious when the promise was made (or when the people voted for it). I agree that free school meals could be a worthwhile policy in normal circumstances. Whether it is worth restricting elderly people's access to social care (or whatever else the money could have been spent on) in order to pay for it is a very difficult question though.
Friday 15 April 2011 11.38am
This is a totally inefficient policy.

It would be great to be able to provide free meals to everyone but the council can't afford it.

This policy means that free school meals will be provided to many people not in need, at the detriment of services for others who are in genuine need. Cutting older persons services to provide a universal benefit is shameful!
Friday 15 April 2011 12.33pm
Pupils from other boroughs get free meals here too!
Friday 15 April 2011 1.17pm
graham wrote:
Pupils from other boroughs get free meals here too!

And? Should we erect barriers along the borders of Southwark to stop the starving hoardes from Lambeth eating in our schools at our expense?
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