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Delyn MP criticises plan to give all primary school children in Wales free school meals

25 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read

 

Rob Roberts. Picture by David Woolfall (CC BY 3.0).

Delyn MP Rob Roberts has criticised the plan laid out in the Plaid Cymru and Labour cooperation agreement to give all primary school children in Wales free school meals.

The Conservative MP said that he himself had received free school meals and wanted a more targeted approach for those who needed help the most.

“Some 35 years ago, I benefitted from free school meals when my parents were in a difficult situation and in need of support,” he said. “There was no stigma, no embarrassment or issue with that at all.”

“People talk a lot about stigma. I respectfully submit that there is no stigma, other than when well-meaning people keep saying that there is.

“In reality, there is absolutely no shame in people falling on hard times and needing some help. It can happen to the best of us.

He added that the Welsh Government should ask headteachers where they thought the money should be spent.

“Would you rather have free meals for every child, even those whose parents make £100,000 a year, or would you rather have 2/3 new teachers, 5/6 more classroom assistants, etc?” he asked.

“I suspect the vast majority of them would rather have these massive amounts of resources focussed on delivering better outcomes.”

He added that he had written to education minister Jeremy Miles MS “to ask that he reconsider this position, target the support to where it is needed, and instead focus those funds on increased staffing and resources to drive up standards across Wales.”

‘Evidence’

The Plaid-Labour deal unveiled on Monday ensured stable government after Labour fell one short a Senedd majority at May’s election.

It included a commitment to “extend free school meals to all primary school pupils, over the lifetime of this agreement, as a further step to reaching our shared ambition that no child should go hungry”.

“We agree that universal free school meals will be a transformational intervention in terms of child hunger and child poverty, which will support educational attainment and child nutrition and local food production and distribution, benefiting local economies,” the agreement says.

The deal is due to last another three years – which is expected to be when First Minister Mark Drakeford will transfer the reins to a successor.

Plaid Cymru had pledged to give free school meals to every child in primary school in its Senedd manifesto.

Teaching union NAHT Cymru has however raised questions about the policy, saying that a “universal provision” may not be the solution to the issue.

“NAHT Cymru fully supports the ambition of the Welsh Government to eradicate child hunger,” Laura Doel, director of the teaching union NAHT Cymru, said.

“Our members know only too well the impact poverty has on our learners from a health and educational perspective.”

“We would like to see the evidence that suggests such a universal provision is the solution to the issue of some children not qualifying for FSM due to an outdated criteria formula, the modelling on how much this is going to cost and any analysis that shows that giving every child a free school meal provides an educational benefit as opposed to fixing the problems in a broken system and putting the extra funding into frontline teaching and learning.”

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Simon
Simon
9 days ago

I applaud the new policy – as universal benefits are much better, for at least three reasons: large numbers don’t claim and therefore don’t get under current system, the ‘penalty’ for falling a few pence the wrong side of qualifying is removed, potential stigma is eliminated. I’d be happy to see suhc policies paid for from a progressive tax. BTW he’s not a Conservative MP. Even though the Conservatives have allowed him back into the party, he’s not in the parliamentary party. As he’s an admitted sexual molester, I think he should resign rather than attempt to lecture Welsh Government… Read more »

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
9 days ago
Reply to  Simon

The greatest thing about all the children having free dinners there is no longer any stigma everybody are having free dinners

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
9 days ago
Reply to  Malcolm rj

It’s also a lot easier to administer as you don’t have to assess if a child is entitled to free meals or not.

Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
9 days ago

Rob Roberts, I will dispense with the formality of salutation as I do not think you merit a “Dear”. Would you prefer schoolchildren to starve as opposed to paying for teaching staff who are not required? And, yes, there IS a stigma attached to free school meals. You’re identified by your classmates as the one on FSM. Everyone knows you to be the one who is being subsidised (as they see it) the more affluent families. You’re the spotty ‘Erbert who wears NHS glasses because your parents can’t afford a designer pair. You’re the one who has a crappy second-hand… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Welsh_Siôn
Gareth
Gareth
9 days ago

Just one of as the underlying reasons Wales has zero prescription charges was the administrative cost of policing prescription charges was greater than the sums recovered from chemists.,A similar situation exists in the administration charges by the various school meal services, (providing portals to pay , head teachers time spent recovering debts), it highly probable that the administrave costs in collecting revenue, accounting and recovering defaults is equal to the actual cost of food provided at primary school. those parents whi can afford school meals without hardship no doubt will want to support their childs school in helping fund extra… Read more »

Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
9 days ago

Nice picture – £82 grand a year and he can’t afford a razor.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
9 days ago

The guy who has a triple chin wants kids to starve like the pig he is. Stick to sexually harrassing your staff members you cockroach.

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
9 days ago

Ah, the Sex Pest splutters forth again… He is 42 years old, yes really (heck of a paper round that was!), so …”some 35 years ago…” he was 7ish, how does he know what his parents felt then?! If his parents are still with us, we can surely guess what they must feel about him now.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
9 days ago

OK, so he was on free school meals which must have meant his parents were poor. Makes you wonder why he became a Tory. I for one have never understood the mentality or thought processes (or lack thereof) of working class Tories.

Erisian
Erisian
9 days ago

I think a prolonged period of silence from this unwholesome individual would be appropriate.

Note to editor – I am sick to death of his unshaven piggy face. Any chance you can either find another photo, or better still, don’t use one at all. We are not children and don’t need a picture above every article.

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 days ago
Reply to  Erisian

Roberts may have climbed away from poverty but the effort made a big mess of his appearance ! Boy needs to cut out the lard in his pies for a few months for starters.

Paul Reynolds
9 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Are you proud that you called for English schoolchildren to be shot in cages by Welsh farmers?

Marc
Marc
9 days ago

So Roberts tells us. “It can happen to the best of us.” I sincerely hope you are not including yourself in that category

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
9 days ago

So Tory deviant Rob Roberts wants to deny Welsh school children free meals. The irony seeing this lard arse receives a subsidised food allowance at the Welsh taxpayers expense.

Last edited 9 days ago by Y Cymro
Paul Reynolds
9 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

No. He feels that those who can afford to pay, pay and the rest is spent on education.

The whole idea will never see light of day anyway.

Will Jones
Will Jones
9 days ago

Is he still an MP?

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
9 days ago

When even a cockroach like Jacob-Ree-Smugg says he should resign the least he could do is maintain a decent and permanent silence.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
9 days ago

Wow he dared open his mouth…… to starve a kid to save a quid … the man knows no bounds. He has about 850 majority, I think he will not contest the next election but it is important that Delyn never votes in a Tory again. Plaid should stand aside if need be. (I’m a member of PC)

Hannergylch
Hannergylch
8 days ago

Thank you to all the commenters who have provided informed and coherent rebuttals to Rob Roberts’ arguments. But may I respectfully suggest to some of you that the ad hominem fallacy is best avoided? When you use the ad hominem fallacy needlessly, you give credence to those who use the same fallacy as a tool of deceit. When you can demolish a man’s arguments, you don’t need to attack his character!

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