The 7p Breakfast *
The are 13 million people in Britain now below the poverty line, 1 million of these has to use foodbanks. Hunger’s a real thing in Britain in 2017. In this context the Tories manifesto pledge to scrap free school lunches and replace them with ‘breakfast clubs’ didn’t seem a good move. Posturing as caring social liberals, the Tories were quickly found out.
The party’s manifesto, released last week, proposed scrapping universal infant free school meals – which cost an estimated £600m each year – in favour of free breakfasts for all primary school pupils, at an estimated cost of just £60m per year.
But then it got worse.
The proposal was completely underfunded.
Critics calculated that if England’s 4.62 million primary school children attending state schools were to be fed a free breakfast on this budget, each meal could cost no more than 6.8p.
[* actually it’s 6.8 p]
So far so Toxic Tory. But the fact is that most of your children’s school lunches are protected by “commercial confidentiality” and cost a pittance.
Back in 2014 when kids at Cumbernauld High (and elsewhere) were eating horse, we found out that the amount spent on a child’s school lunch in Scotland ranged from 71p to £1.
I don’t think you can feed a child a meal of any real value for 70p, but it does put the Tories derisory 7p breakfast into some perspective.
Basically they were going to swap a hot meal for a cereal packet.
But a deeper root to this problem is our handing-over power to Big Food and our low-bar for quality food for our children.
We are in the midst of a epidemic of diet-related health problems in Scotland and don’t seem to have any credible strategy for doing anything about it.
Take McDonald’s – recently exposed for exploiting childhood bereavement to sell ‘filet-o-fish.’
Way back in 1997, McDonald’s were part of the longest running libel-trial in British history. The judge ruled that they ‘exploit children’ with their advertising, produce ‘misleading’ advertising, are ‘culpably responsible’ for cruelty to animals, are ‘antipathetic’ to unionisation and pay their workers low wages.
In March 1999 the Court of Appeal made further rulings that it was fair comment to say that McDonald’s employees worldwide “do badly in terms of pay and conditions”, and true that “if one eats enough McDonald’s food, one’s diet may well become high in fat etc., with the very real risk of heart disease.” More here.
They’re the main sponsor of Scottish youth football, and now they’re going to be ‘sponsoring’ the new Sick Kids Hospital in Edinburgh. Read more at this gushing Evening News press release … I mean ….article here.
Sick food for Sick kids. Presumably Coke should be opening the Diabetes wing anytime soon?
The 7p breakast proposal is a disgrace, but it’s part of a deeper problem of corporate food and lack of investment in schools and in children and part of a wider failure of a failed food culture.
Corporate Food is in our hospitals and in our schools and in our sports training. You luvvin that?