Socialist Worker

Tory government has lied over free school meals for poor children

Issue No. 2703

Many people have reported problems trying to download vouchers for children entitled to free school meals

Many people have reported problems trying to download vouchers for children entitled to free school meals (Pic: Glenn Turner/Twitter)


Many parents across England have been unable to access vouchers or meals to support children while schools are closed due to the crisis.

The government said children who receive free school meals would be supported with vouchers worth £15 a week.

The Department for Education admitted it doesn’t know how many vouchers have been delivered to parents.

Around 1.3 million children in England are eligible for free school meals. Yet many parents can’t download the vouchers.

One school ­in Worcestershire ­was forced to turn to a charity to get food parcels for children after it was unable to access vouchers for two weeks.

Head teacher Judith Tinsley said the system is a “nightmare”. “We’ve got families who’ve not received a voucher for ten days,” she said.

“They have received the codes but then the system has not allowed them to redeem their codes.

“And then some families that have actually managed to get that far have turned up at the supermarket and not been able to use them against their shopping.”

A primary school in Wembley, north London, has also resorted to food parcels.

Head teacher Raphael Moss said the scheme was “unnecessarily complicated” and had spawned “a catalogue of errors, of chaos really”.

One school worker in Cornwall paid for a family’s shopping after the mother’s voucher code failed at a till.

She had £3 in her purse and the shopping cost £16.

Parent Heather McNeillis said she had vouchers worth £45 but could not download them as the website kept crashing.

“The money matters—we’ve been able to eat fresh fruit and vegetables because of it,” she said.


Covid cops in fine form

Cops have issued over 9,000 fines in England and Wales for breaches of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Data from the National Police Chiefs’ Council showed that around 400 have been fined more than once.

One person was fined six times.

Cops doled out some 8,877 fixed penalty notices in England between 27 March and 27 April, and 299 in Wales.

They can fine people £60 for alleged breaches, reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks.

For each “repeat offence” the fine doubles to a maximum of £960.


Screwed for £500 a month

Prison officers are getting coronavirus bonus payments of up to £580 a month, leaked documents have revealed.

The payouts, on top of overtime, are to cover for sick or self-isolating colleagues.

Prison “operational managers” who work overtime are grabbing an extra £1,500 a month.

They are grabbing the cash under the Tory-approved “Covid-19 Special payment Scheme”.

If prison officers say they’ll work nine hours a week paid overtime for four weeks they will get a bonus of £500. If they commit to 12 weeks this rises to £1,750.

Meanwhile health secretary Matt Hancock has said it is “not the time” to consider giving NHS workers a pay rise.


Sad bosses sack hundreds

The Oasis and Warehouse fashion chains have said they will permanently close all stores and online shopping.

The closures will slash over 1,800 jobs and see 92 stores shut.

Administrators Deloitte said it announced the redundancies with “great sadness”.

But they added that the workers, who had been on furlough, would not receive any payment until funds are received from the government.


Trump coins it in to remember corona crisis 

The White House Gift Shop has a great way for you to remember the coronavirus crisis—on the off chance you’d rather not just forget it.

It has produced 1,000 edge-numbered coins celebrating Donald Trump’s response to coronavirus.

It includes a White House Seal Presentation Case. You get a choice of message for your coin. You can have one reading “World vs Virus—Together We FOUGHT The UNSEEN Enemy”.

Or how about, “Covid-19 Task Force—PRESIDENT DONALD J TRUMP—VICE PRESIDENT MICHAEL R PENCE”.

You can get one for just $125 or $100 if it’s an offer day.

If you’re still alive.


Key worker Farage’s crypto fat cat backer

Cryptocurrency investor Christopher Harborne donated £6.5 million to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party in the last quarter of 2019.

He gave £9.7 million to the party over eight months—over half the party’s income.

Harborne invests in a web of offshore firms and sometimes uses the pseudonym Chakrit Sakunkrit.

Electoral Commission figures also show that the Brexit Party has received £11.6 million in donations above £500 since it was formed.

Farage and chairperson Richard Tice own around 87 percent of the Brexit Party’s shares.


Nigel Farage travelled over 100 miles to film a video where he rants about migrants.

Farage travelled from his home in Kent to Pett Level, a south coast beach. He later travelled further to Hastings.

A spokesperson suggested Farage had key worker status.

In an email to supporters, Farage complained that “illegal immigrants continue to arrive on our shores. Many of these migrants are coming from camps in which we know there is an outbreak of Covid-19,” he warned.


Stanley Johnson wants to cash in on coronavirus

Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley, hopes to cash in on the coronavirus crisis. He is angling for his 40 year old novel, The Marburg Virus, to be reissued.

His agent promises that Stanley Johnson is a “tireless self-promoter”.

Jonathan Lloyd of Curtis Brown described the book as an “unnervingly prophetic, intelligent thriller”.

In it, an epidemiologist finds time to have sex with women in four poster beds while racing to track down the source of the virus.


May is in the money

Theresa May has made over £1 million out of speaking engagements since she quit as Tory prime minister last June.

Given that when in office, May simply repeated rehearsed mantras and avoided answering any questions, it’s bizarre how she does it.

Speeches by May in March alone netted her £230,000.


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