Lucy Powell, the new shadow education secretary has warned about the effect that scrapping universal free meals for five to seven year olds on schools could have, following rumours the policy may be scrapped in George Osborne’s next spending review.
In her first week at the job, working under the new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Powell has announced that Labour are very much against scrapping school dinners.
The Liberal Democrats brought in the policy during the coalition government, a move that the Conservatives were less than eager about.
Speculation has surfaced that the new Conservative government are looking into scrapping this scheme before it has really got going. There are issues with budgeting, especially with country based schools which do not have easy access to suppliers.
However, Powell said that it made no sense to remove the policy now, when many schools have already spent money diverted from their own budgets to make the scheme plausible, saying that it would be a slap in the face to these schools.
Furthermore, she added that “before [the policy] can be properly evaluated for its impact on pupils’ performance at school, they are shutting the door.”
“Scrapping free school meals combined with tax credit cuts could see millions of children going hungry as a result of this decision.”