When Labour rejected free school lunches
Michael Gove’s former special adviser, Dominic Cummings, has written a blog post about why he thinks Nick Clegg’s plan to provide free school lunches for all younger primary-school pupils is a “gimmick”.
Gove himself now pretends it is a marvellous idea, and it is true that it has some merit, mainly that it removes a means test, but Cummings argues forcefully and convincingly that it was not thought through. (He also makes a good and persuasive defence of the role of special advisers.)
The curious thing about the free lunch gimmick is that it is not new. Ed Miliband wanted to put it in Labour’s manifesto at the last election, but Ed Balls, the Children’s Secretary, and Peter Mandelson, overlord of everything, rejected it. They argued that it was poor value for money and therefore not a priority at a time of public spending restraint.
They were right, but it was agreed as a grubby coalition compromise by which the Conservatives got the marriage tax subsidy.Tagged in: Dominic Cummings, free school meals, nick clegg
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