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Schools are raiding their own dwindling budgets as councils struggle to foot free school meals bill

By The Citizen  |  Posted: July 14, 2014

Schools are having to fork out to cover the cost of free school meals due to a funding shortfall

Comments (3)

SCHOOLS across the country will raid their own budgets to cover the cost of children’s free meals, it has been revealed.

Nearly a third of all councils are struggling to pay for Nick Clegg’s plan to give four to seven-year-olds free lunches due to a staggering £23million funding gap.

Overall, a total of 29 councils will struggle to foot the bill from September and in some areas schools are forking out to pay for expensive kitchen upgrades to deliver the policy.

Some primary schools with more than 150 pupils are being asked to cough up around £250,000 – a quarter of the cost of improving kitchens.

The figures will create further controversy surrounding the policy, which was announced by the Deputy Prime Minister at last year’s Liberal Democrat party conference.

Clegg insisted last month that the £600million plan was ‘fully funded’ but many school heads warned they did not have the space or facilities to provide meals for 1.5 million children.

Labour’s shadow schools minister Kevin Brennan said: “David Cameron urgently needs to explain to parents why some schools will be forced to fund this commitment out of their own school budgets, how this will affect standards at those schools and which children will be missing out in September.”

A number of councils say they have not been given enough money from the Government to fund the programme from September and some councils have a shortfall of up to £4million.

It was reported last week that more than 3,000 schools will buy in pre-prepared meals and either keep them warm or reheat them in mini-kitchens.

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  • RoadWombat  |  July 14 2014, 7:55PM

    Those millionaires are the ones who employ the rest of us. Except, of course, for those who aren't employed and want to sponge money off them and then complain if their freebies are threatened. Sound like class jealousy to me!

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  • nickthompson  |  July 14 2014, 5:43PM

    Number of millionaires in Britain 'rises to more than 280,000' The number of millionaires in Britain has risen to more than 280,000 in the past year indicating that the country's economic health is improving, the latest figures suggest. Despite the recession and austerity measures, research shows that 1.1 per cent of the population are now millionaires with a collective wealth of £1.28 trillion. The figure represents an increase since last year when research indicated that the number of millionaires living in the UK had fallen to 242,000. Despite the rise, the current total of 284,317 people worth more than £1 million is far below the figure in 2007, before the recession, of 489,000. The new research by CoreData Research UK shows that the average level of wealth among Britain's millionaires is £4.5 million. However, the country is also home to a number of ultra-high net worth individuals, who have assets worth more than £30 million. Who said we have no money? These 280,000 + are those singled out by Cameron for massive tax CUTS, how many school dinner's would these figure purchase.

  • SandraPee  |  July 14 2014, 1:03PM

    Providing free school meals ''across the board'' is ridiculous ............ we should not be paying for the children of rich people to have a meal.

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