Readers' letters - April 10

Free school meals for all would subsidise middle class

Thursday, 13th April 2017, 10:26 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:53 pm
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn takes part in a cooking session as he visits a childrens holiday club in Lancashire. Labour has proposed free school meals for all primary schools  which will be funded by VAT on private school fees

Free school meals provision is already a poorly targeted policy and extending it to all primary school children would be an unacceptable waste of taxpayers’ money.

The scheme will end up subsidising middle class and affluent families who don’t need the help, while those who are struggling to make ends meet will feel very little benefit.

Most parents 
would prefer a tax 
cut providing them with more choice, rather than this crude and untargeted initiative.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Additionally, a significant number of primary schools do not have the facilities to provide these meals in the first place.

For many years now there have been schemes in place to provide free school meals for disadvantaged children.

Universal provision is unnecessary and paying for it by charging parents who decide to send their children to a private school VAT, while still paying their share of tax for state education, is unjustifiable.

Not least because a significant number of children at private schools receive financial support themselves through scholarships.

If politicians want to help disadvantaged children, they should focus on improving teaching and bringing down the cost of living.

Mark Littlewood

Director General
Institute of Economic Affairs

Absent teachers are detrimental

The recent Supreme Court ruling against a parent who took his child on holiday during term time without permission has no doubt been welcomed by headteachers.

A number of headteachers have said “to take a child out of school for even a day can be very detrimental to their education”. No evidence is ever given.

This issue raises another one that need exposing.

If it is claimed that taking a child out of school seriously affects their education, then so does the absence of teachers as the result of illness.

On these occasions, a supply teacher is brought in.

In all too many cases, these replacements do no teaching. They tell the class to do their homework or carry on doing what they did prior to their teacher’s absence. Where this occurs, the pupil is attending school but little learning is taking place. The system is also expensive.

Schools are spending huge sums of money every year on supply teachers covering staff sickness.

Dr Barry Clayton

Address supplied

Tories are insult to working class

If Copeland didn’t rely on the nuclear fuel industry which Corbyn dislikes, then the Tories would have had no chance in winning in the recent by-election.

For ‘Mother Theresa’ to say the Tories are now the champions of the working class is an insult. Someone wants to remind her that more people are now relying on food banks and benefit sanctions in our false economy, contributed to by failed Tory policies.

G Ellis

Address supplied

Britannia or Peter Rabbit?

Being of a certain age and temperament, I am less than enamoured of recent developments to what was a substantial and robust British coinage whose imagery reflected my idea of Britain.

Instead of Britannia and heraldry, what is now pressed upon us? Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. Can you imagine Uncle Sam using the image of one of my favourite cartoon characters – Bugs Bunny, along with Fog Horn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam – on their coinage?

Grumpy Old Man