9 June 2010

Remember the post which I put up yesterday on Aristotle and how to judge the Tory Libdem cuts? It is unjust to treat unequals equally, in austerity you shouldn’t demand that the poor and vulnerable pay like the rich and strong.

On cue comes a policy on which to use his test, namely, a decision to cut help to the poor.

The Labour government was running pilots for universal free school meals (that is, for all pupils) in three areas and planned to extend the pilot to other areas. Additionally, in December 2009 (sections 1.32 and 5.31) Labour set out plans for this September actually to extend free school meals to half of all primary children from low income working families and from September 2011 to all of them, about 500 000 children in all. The Tory Libdems have abandoned the planned pilots and the primary school extensions.

Today’s Times reports the decision here: Poorest families will miss out on free school meals under welfare cuts. And the BBC here.

The Tory Libdems promised to protect the poor and vulnerable from the cuts and to tackle child poverty. This abandonment is a direct assault on the poor and their children; this is not protecting the them but rather making them suffer from the cuts; this is not tackling child poverty. This policy is a mistake and Labour’s plans should be restored in the autumn spending review when the abandonment is to be considered.

Now for the interesting bit. Andrew George, Stephen Gilbert, Dan Rogerson, Libdem MPs all – what do you say about this abandonment of Labour’s free school meals plans? Do you support your government’s policy and these cuts for the poor?

(We’ve already had a cut failing the Aristotle test: the cut in the future job fund. Assaulting free school meals is the second failure. Oh, and the trinity appear to have said nothing on their websites about the future jobs fund.)