-- Advertisement --

Tories to shamelessly exempt Northern Ireland from savage Free School Meals cuts to protect DUP deal

-- Advertisement --

Stay in touch!

Sign up to be updated with Evolve's latest stories, and for opportunities to get involved.

Since her demise, the Tories have struggled to find an ideologue like Thatcher, the woman who exemplified and defined everything the Conservatives stand for. But now, Theresa May appears to be desperately attempting to follow in the Iron Lady’s socially-catastrophic footsteps. First, we had Maggie Thatcher the milk snatcher; now, it seems we are to have Theresa May the lunch snatcher. Unless, that is, you happen to live in Northern Ireland.

In legislation that will get voted on tomorrow, immediately following the Spring Statement, the Tories are set to cut the threshold for free school meals for the children of families on Universal Credit to £7,400 per year.

The threshold will represent a ‘cliff edge’, meaning that if families earn a penny over it, they will have their entitlement to free school meals removed completely. In contrast, in order to fund school lunches for one child for a year, said families would need to cough up an extra £1,100. 

Such a situation leads to a perverse incentive for families not to want to earn more than £7,400 per year.

However, it seems that in an effort to ensure the 10 DUP MPs in Parliament side with them in the vote tomorrow, the Tories have incredibly decided to exempt Northern Ireland, where the threshold will be almost double, at £14,000. 

The cuts mean that around England, 212,000 children in London stand to go hungry, 130,000 in the West Midlands and 130,000 in the North West.

The Government’s inconsistency in applying the Universal Credit cut highlights a lack of real vision at the heart of our leaders’ policy. In order to get the requisite amount of votes for a deeply unpopular policy, they are reduced to exempting Northern Ireland from the fallout of that policy so that the DUP can vote it through for other areas. The perverseness is astounding.

The development comes as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation revealed that the poorest fifth of working families in the UK are, after 8 years of cuts to welfare and the rising cost of living, worse off than they were before 2010. 

Yet instead of doing anything about it, Hammond intends to put the windfall from Universal Credit savings to further reducing the deficit in some vain attempt at sound public finances. What exactly is supposed to happen when that’s reduced? 

There is no one at the helm of this ship. Just a captain reduced to massaging his cabin boy whilst the men below deck starve and the ship careens around in circles, heading absolutely nowhere.

Become An Evolve Politics Subscriber

Your subscriptions go directly into paying our writers a standard fee for every article they produce. So if you want to help us stay truly independent, please think about subscribing. We literally couldn’t function without the support of our fantastic readers.


Or a One-Off Donation to Evolve Politics

If you don’t want to subscribe, but still want to contribute to our project, you can make a one-off donation via the donate button below. All your donations go directly to our writers for their work in exposing injustice, inequality and unfairness.

-- Advertisement --

Evolve needs your help more than ever!

We rely on the generosity of our readers to help fund the majority of our work - but we need a little more to make ends meet and enable us to grow.

If we can reach 1,000 regular subscribers, we will become entirely financially sustainable - and we'll also have a little extra so we can build upwards and outwards to make our work have an even bigger impact.

In the last month alone, our work on the Environment Bill has helped force a change in the law for the better. And, since Evolve was founded, our uniquely viral style of journalism has repeatedly put the establishment on the back foot and helped force genuinely positive progression.

But we want to do far more - and we need your help to do it.

The best way you can help us is by becoming a Monthly or Annual subscriber. This kind of regular income allows us to better plan for the future - firstly so we can pay the bills, and then so we can set aside funds and time to work on extra projects.

However, if you can't commit to a regular payment, one-off donations - no matter how small - also make a big difference to us, and we genuinely make the most of every single penny.

So, if you appreciate the work that Evolve does and you want to see us make an even bigger impact on the world, please think about contributing to our work in whatever way you possibly can.

Tom D. Rogers

Co-Founder, Contributing Editor

Jess Miller

Co-Founder, Contributing Editor

Subscriber-Only Comments