Plan to scrap free school meals dropped

Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to axe universal free school meals (UIFSMs) for four- to seven-year-olds has been dumped from today’s Queen’s Speech.

Wholesalers and other campaigners, including parents, teachers, Tory backbenchers and chef Jamie Oliver, had been outraged by the cost-saving proposal, unveiled in the Conservatives’ election manifesto, describing it as “robbing the most vulnerable”.

After Mrs May lost her majority in the election earlier this month scrapping UIFSMs has now been axed from the Government’s legislative agenda.

Axing free school meals was ‘political suicide’, Oliver warned earlier this month.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said he was “relieved” to see that scrapping of universal infant free school meals did not feature in the speech.

“By protecting free school meals for infants, two million children are still guaranteed a decent meal every school day,” he said.

Government sources said the manifesto had essentially ‘been ripped up’ after the party lost its majority in the general election. Deeply unpopular social care proposals — dubbed the dementia tax — have also been abandoned.

More on this story, including wholesalers’ take, in the July issue of Wholesale News.


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