Great Britain

MPs get £25 food expenses a day, yet we can’t afford free school meals

I read with despair that MPs are trying to blame poor families’ behaviour (drug-taking and brothels) for the children starving in this country. Families who have to rely on food banks would much rather have sufficient income to be able to care for and feed their child than have to ask for hand-outs.

I am a retired health visitor with over 20 years’ experience. I worked with families through the Thatcher years: I saw then how Tory policies impoverished families and unemployment rocketed. "A price worth paying", according to Sir Keith Joseph, if I remember correctly.

During this period I was once told by a Tory supporter and charity worker that the problem with these families who were struggling was they spent all their money in pubs and clubs on Friday and Saturday nights. I asked this person if she had witnessed these young mums doing so but she had not, so I suggested we went around the pubs and clubs together next weekend. She declined because it was a total fabrication to justify Tory policy and allow her a clear conscience.

History seems to be repeating itself: MPs and Tory supporters putting out unjust fabricated stories to justify their policies.

I have worked with many families who struggled to feed and provide warm shelter for their children. I can honestly say 99.9 per cent were caring, loving parents who were impoverished by government policymakers through no fault of their own.

As for women who resort to prostitution may I point out that they would not do so if they received a living income to support them and their children. I would add that that they could not carry out this activity if MEN were not willing to pay.

Of course MPs have a measly meal budget of £25 per day – a lot more than universal credit and a lot more than a free school meal which is about 60p day. Still, Johnson can't afford a nanny and he's struggling with school fees on his meagre salary.

Susan Lammin  

Another look at history

The failure to back Marcus Rashford and extend free school meals is just the latest calamity of many that have dogged successive Tory governments since 2015. This would also have been the story of the Cameron-led coalition government if it wasn’t for the Lib Dems acting as a steadying hand. Indeed, where the Lib Dems really let the country down has long since become apparent – it was in making the Tories look competent.

Irony

Funny how government encourages local authorities to be responsible for feeding poor children but are so reluctant to let them perform the track and trace function that is one of their proven skills.

British comford

I just read Micha Frazer-Carroll’s article entitled, “Lockdown, gloomy weather... this is really why everything feels so miserable right now.”

I appreciate what you are going through. Your tone was direct, honest without being gloomy – as you describe the weather. It had the feel of the stiff upper lip for which you are famous without the daily feed of existential dread that we are getting from American newspapers.  

Despite your reservations, I am encouraged by your leadership. I am impressed with Boris Johnson’s intelligence and scholarship. I read his well-written work, The Churchill Factor. I know, my bar is low; we have a president whose literary achievements include The Art of the Deal and Think Big And Kick Ass... in Business and Life.

I am impressed with your NHS. I am filling my TV time with BritBox and Acorn, two services streaming intelligent British drama that has become so popular here.  

Stay well.  

Hypocrisy

322 Tory MPs voted to deny poor children free school meals during the holidays and then over a hundred Tory MPs wrote to Labour leader Keir Starmer complaining about Labour MP Angela Rayner’s “unparliamentary language” when she called them “scum”.

A party whose leaders have a continuing history of using racist, abusive, and bullying terms against their opponents have no right to whine about “unparliamentary language”.

Young priorities

As someone who spent many years encouraging young people to be enterprising and promoting the importance of work experience, both for employers and students, I cannot help but agree that the chancellor's new job scheme is a “sticking plaster”.

Unless careful thought is given to how both the employer and the young person can benefit positively from a placement, the experience will be a negative one for both parties. Properly thought through, the employer can benefit from jobs being done that may have been put on the back burner while the young person can experience the realities of the world of work and so help them decide what sort of work they would like to do.

In these difficult times both sides may not relish the planning involved to ensure a positive experience but it is in the interests of both to do so. Otherwise work experience / placements will continue to be seen as not worthwhile.

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