Local Lib Dem campaigner Ann Holtom is calling on the government to make clear that free school meals for infants will not be axed as part of further austerity measures. Free school meals for infants were introduced under the Coalition government in September last year. Announcing the scheme the then Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said: "Teaching healthy habits young, and boosting attainment early, will bring the biggest benefits. Universal free schoolmeals will help give every child the chance in life that they deserve, building a stronger economy and fairer society."
It has recently been reported that the free meals scheme is one of the areas of Education spending that is under real threat because of the Chancellor, George Osborne's, new expenditure review under which government departments have to cut their spending by 40%.
Ann Holtom commented: "The Liberal Democrats used our position in government to make sure that young schoolchildren were provided with a nourishing lunch so as to give them healthy start in life. That George Osborne is now behind cuts which could take these meals from the very youngest members of our society away is appalling. In the 1970s Margaret Thatcher got the nickname "milk snatcher" when she removed free milk from school children. Mrs. Thatcher may be one of Osborne's heroes but axing free school meals is much more shortsighted, especially as schools have spent money installing facilities to enable them to provide these meals."