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School meals plan ‘makes life harder’

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There is growing anger at the Tories’ decision to scrap the extension of free school meals to 500,000 children from the poorest families.
Issue 2208

There is growing anger at the Tories’ decision to scrap the extension of free school meals to 500,000 children from the poorest families.

The Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Paediatrics and the Royal College of Physicians have written to education secretary Michael Gove to protest at the decision.

The extension would have lifted 50,000 children out of poverty. Currently only unemployed parents on Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) can claim free school meals for their children.

Lesley Fitzsimmons, a 46-year old single parent who lives in Luton with her daughter Rebecca, told Socialist Worker, “I am working as a midday supervisor at a local school in a deprived area.

“About a quarter of the children in the class I work in are on free school meals—they couldn’t survive without them.

“It is hard to make sure your children eat healthily—Rebecca likes fresh fruit and salads, but it’s expensive.

“The price of food has gone up and is going to keep going up. I sometimes cut back on what I eat because we just don’t have enough money to feed us both. It’s no way to live.

“Even though life is hard, and the government is making it harder, I know I will get by. But there will be people who can’t—what happens to them?”

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