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Food row January 15, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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What is it with the Tories and food for schools and for people? This last week there was the absurdity of the ‘free’ school meal parcels that were simply not fit for purpose. Yesterday as the Guardian reports:

The government has once again become mired in a row over free school meals after it emerged that headteachers in England have been told not to supply vouchers and food parcels to disadvantaged children over the February half-term holiday. With the dust barely settled following a furious row this week over substandard food parcels, council leaders and teaching unions expressed frustration at continuing confusion over free school meals and warned that children could go hungry.

This since the government has said that the Covid winter grant scheme offers government support for families and children outside term time. But…

The National Education Union (NEU) warned of a “logistical nightmare” for holiday provision and said disadvantaged families could end up missing out under the winter grant scheme as a result of the switch in provision via schools to councils.

And:

The Local Government Association (LGA) said the winter grant was never intended to replace free school meals and urged ministers to continue to provide food vouchers to eligible families during half-term.

And:

Courtney warned that transmission rates of Covid-19 were higher than ever and that chopping and changing between services increased the risk of children going hungry, with additional public health risks if parents had to venture out of the house. “Suggesting that local councils will be able to recreate a brand-new system of supplying free school meals for the week of half-term using the Covid winter grant scheme is an unnecessary logistical nightmare, and the confusion and chaos this could cause will put millions of children at risk … Ministers should hang their heads in shame and unless they reverse this decision never again speak of their concern for disadvantaged children,” he said.

The simple practicalities suggest it is very unhelpful to alter provision of such services – leading to confusion and a lower uptake (as well as the health issues pointed to in the above quote. But then where is the surprise with perhaps the hardest right Tory government of the contemporary period, and certainly since the last Thatcher one.

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