Tory pupil breakfasts ‘a thimble of Rice Krispies’

31 May

The Labour leader made his scathing criticism of the proposals, which would see free school lunches for infants scrapped, as part of a broadside against the Conservatives on schools and the NHS.

Liberal Democrat former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has also branded the Tory move as “cynical”, claiming it would offer just 7p’s worth of food for each child – the equivalent of half a boiled egg, one slice of bread with 12 baked beans or 37.5 cornflakes and 100ml of semi-skimmed milk.

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He argued Theresa May’s “cruel and illogical decision” to take away free, hot lunches for all infants in return would put children’s health at risk.


Jeremy Corbyn appears on the BBC's The One Show

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Mr Corbyn moved to shift the election campaign on to Labour’s agenda after Theresa May made Brexit her issue and said Mr Corbyn was unfit to lead the UK’s negotiations with Brussels.

Seeking to put behind him Tuesday’s childcare gaffe in which he struggled to recall the cost of his own policy in a BBC radio interview, Mr Corbyn will have been buoyed by the latest YouGov poll that suggested the UK could be heading for a hung parliament on 9 June, with the Tories falling short of an overall majority.

In a speech in central London, the Labour leader claimed patients would suffer longer waiting lists and children would be “crammed” into overcrowded classrooms if the Tories are re-elected on 8 June.


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Mr Corbyn pledged his party would invest in the NHS, cap class sizes and provide free school meals to all primary school children.

On the latter, he added: “The Conservative Party would take that away and replace it with a thimble full of rice crispies for each child.”

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Meanwhile, Mr Clegg claimed up to 250,000 children living in poverty across the country would lose their free lunches as a result of the Tory plan.


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He had championed the free school meal policy in government, which meant all pupils in reception, year one and year two got a hot lunch.

Although free school meals would still be available to children from low-income families throughout their years in primary and secondary education, the Lib Dems pointed to research that indictaed poor take-up of the entitlement.

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Mr Clegg said: “It’s clear that the reintroduction of means-testing for school lunches will mean many children losing out on what could be the only hot, nutritious meal that they receive each day.”

PM Theresa May speaking in Twickenham
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The Conservatives argue funding for the NHS and schools is increasing

The Conservatives pointed Mrs May’s promise to increase NHS spending by £8bn in real terms over the next five years and to increase the overall schools budget by £4bn by 2022.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Everyone cares passionately about the NHS. They also know there’s not a magic money tree and in the end the Brexit negotiations will determine whether our economy stays strong and we can carry on putting more money into the NHS, which is what people want.”

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