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Lib Dem candidate for Lichfield and Burntwood blasts Conservatives over “heartless” plan to axe free school meals

The decision to abolish universal free school meals has been branded a “heartless policy” by the man standing for the Liberal Democrats at the 2017 General Election in Lichfield and Burntwood.

The Coalition Government had introduced the free meals, but they could be ditched if the Conservatives are elected.

Lib Dem candidate Paul Ray said such a move would hit struggling families hard.

Paul Ray

Paul Ray

“Margaret Thatcher was known as the ‘milk snatcher’, and Theresa May will go down as the lunch snatcher,” he said. “This is a heartless policy that will cost struggling parents £500 a year for each infant-aged child. So much for Theresa May caring about the ‘just about managing’.

“Giving infants free school meals was a major achievement of the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government. We believe that primary education is absolutely fundamental as it gives children the building blocks for their future.

“This is a policy that is making a real difference as these meals help to boost educational attainment and make kids healthier.

“So why oh why are the Conservatives going to axe it? I’ll tell you – it’s because they simply do not believe in a good education for all.”

Mr Ray said a Lib Dem government would maintain the current situation.

“We have committed in our manifesto to ensuring that every child in primary school will be guaranteed at least one hot meal a day.” he said.

Michael Fabricant

Michael Fabricant

“I challenge Conservative candidate Michael Fabricant to disown these lunch-snatching plans or to justify to struggling families why they should be paying more.

“Liberal Democrats want to give all our children a brighter future in a fairer Britain where people are decent to each other, with good schools and hospitals, a clean environment and an innovative economy. Not Theresa May’s cold, meanspirited Britain.”

Mr Fabricant told a hustings event at Wade Street Church in Lichfield that tough funding decisions had to be made.

“We have to decide where the money goes,” he said. “Do we want to pay for lunches for those who can afford to pay for them or put the money into more teachers etc?

“People who can’t afford them will still get free meals.”

Robert Pass

Robert Pass

Green Party candidate Robert Pass said the Conservative plan showed they were not making choices for those who need the support.

He added: “I don’t know why the Tories are taking free lunches away from children.

“Kids need a hot meal. It’s been proven that nourishment aids learning, yet a Conservative government would choose to penalise the poor and vulnerable in society and put money into the pockets of the rich instead.

“Ending free school meals is a decision I’d like to see reversed in an instant.”

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  1. Paul Ray

    4th June, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    ‪I add that these comments were made a few days ago. NOT TODAY. We are NOT campaigning today after the tragic events in London . Lichfield Live has just posted this today.‬

  2. The Scribbler

    4th June, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Not sure the clarification was necessary Mr Ray, but thanks anyway.

    Also not sure you should be worried as the Prime Minister seemed to be campaigning quite hard on the steps of No.10 today with her four-point plan on terrorism.

  3. John Griffin

    4th June, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Pity she didn’t listen to Peter Kirkham (ex Met high rank)who called her and Rudd out as ‘liars’ since their draconian cuts have reduced the police ranks so much so that the police you see have effectively abandoned their home areas to appear to be ‘in force’ in London.

  4. Darryl

    5th June, 2017 at 11:32 am

    How will they assess access to these meals? Often times, merely assessing people outweighs the cost saving of not just giving a meal to everyone.

  5. Steve

    5th June, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Teresa May said she wanted to do something for those, who are Just About Managing.

    I thought she meant she would help them. Not push them over the edge.