Plans by Theresa May to axe free school lunches would waste the £3,055,034 invested in Hampshire to upgrade school kitchens, according to the Liberal Democrats.
It comes after figures revealed 34,059 children in Hampshire are set to lose out under the Conservative proposals.
When in government, the Liberal Democrats invested £160m upgrading school kitchen facilities to enable them to prepare hot lunches, including £3,055,034 in Hampshire.
Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Gray for Havant commented:
“The Liberal Democrats in government invested £160m to give schools the kitchens they needed to ensure that no infant would go hungry, including more than £3million in our county alone.”
“This policy was extremely successful and guaranteed that local children received at least two of their five a day in their school lunch. But now Theresa May is threatening to throw that money down the drain.”
“A Conservative measure designed to save money will waste money. Not only is it heartless, it is bad economics. I challenge my Conservative opponent Alan Mak to say whether, if elected, he would vote against their own party to ensure that children in Havant receive a decent lunch.”
“The Liberal Democrats will protect free school lunches for infants and ensure all primary school children can get a healthy, free lunch a day.”
Analysis by the Liberal Democrats has shown that up to half of the value of an average family home could be at risk from Theresa May’s dementia tax.
It comes after Amber Rudd said the Conservatives did not know what a future cap on social care costs would be, while refusing to rule out that it could be as high as £200,000 or £300,000.
The analysis reveals that:
Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb said:
“These figures show Theresa May’s dementia tax could devastate hard-working families, with a cap on costs in the hundreds of thousands.
“Across the country, people risk seeing over half the value of their homes taken to pay for care costs.
“Theresa May’s stubborn refusal to set out the full details of the dementia tax shows she has no plans to ditch it.
“She is showing contempt for vulnerable older people who have developed a condition like dementia through no fault of their own.”
The Liberal Democrats have challenged Theresa May to answer ten pressing key questions on the Dementia Tax, calling on her to come clean before the election takes place.
These include what level the cap will be set at, whether it will be uprated with house prices and whether it will include interest rates and arrangement fees.
Theresa May has also been challenged over how long surviving relatives will be able to stay in a family home and whether measures will be put in place to stop people avoiding the Dementia Tax.
- At what level will the cap on care costs be set?
How will it be uprated? Will it be in line with house prices?
Does the £100,000 floor apply to households or individuals?
Will the cap and £100,000 floor apply to care costs only, or will it also include accommodation costs?
Will people still need to pay an arrangement fee and interest for care costs, and if so how will these charges be set? The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM) currently charges 2.25% interest and a £900 set up fee plus £300 a year (link).
Will interest fees and fee payments for care costs be included under the cap?
Will local councils have to pay the additional costs for this scheme or will they be fully reimbursed by the Treasury?
Will widows, widowers or dependent children be able to remain in the family home after their relative has died, especially where they are elderly themselves? Or will they be forced to sell the home to pay for care costs?
What interest rate will be charged on a deferred payment once the beneficiary has died? Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead charge 8% if not settled within 90 days of death (link).
Will measures be put place to prevent people avoiding the Dementia Tax, for example releasing equity or gifting a house to children or grandchildren more than seven years before death?
The Liberal Democrats have committed in their manifesto to implementing the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission, which would mean a cap on care costs of £72,000
Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, said:
“It is simply not good enough to dodge difficult questions and proper scrutiny during the campaign over an issue that will have such a huge impact on people’s lives.
“Under these proposals, many would end up paying far more for their care.
“Families deserve to know now what the Dementia Tax will mean for their homes, finances and relatives.
“We have set out a clear set of questions Theresa May must answer in order to come clean to the British public and address their concerns.
“The Liberal Democrats will keep campaigning to scrap the Dementia Tax and ensure no-one has to worry about catastrophic costs to pay for their care.”
Nick Clegg has warned today (Saturday 27th May) that Theresa May’s plans to scrap free school lunches could hit children’s health by depriving hundreds of thousands of pupils of their 5-a-day.
It comes as the Liberal Democrats have unveiled a hard-hitting digital poster of a hungry child asking: “Please Theresa, May I have some more.”
Unlike school lunches, there are no nutritional guidelines or minimum portions for breakfasts. This means while pupils currently get at least two to three of their five a day with free lunches, with free breakfasts they could potentially get none.
Current standards would allow school breakfasts to consist mainly of processed breakfast cereals, toast with sweetened spreads, and there would be no limit on the total amount of sugar children can consume.
Nick Clegg said:
“Theresa May’s plans would hit children’s health by depriving them of a free nutritional meal at school.
“This is particularly short-sighted when we are struggling with soaring levels of childhood obesity.
“The Liberal Democrats will protect free school lunches for infants and ensure all primary school children can get a healthy, free lunch a day.
“Conservative candidates must make clear whether they will vote to take away lunches from hard-pressed families or stand up to Theresa May for the sake of the education and good health of our children.
“Theresa May should take her inspiration from Jamie Oliver not Oliver Twist.”
Responding to Theresa May’s announcement on social care in which she said “nothing has changed,” Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said:
“May’s manifesto meltdown changes nothing. As Theresa May has made clear herself, nothing has changed and her heartless dementia tax remains in place. This is a cold and calculated attempt to pull the wool over people’s eyes.”
“Theresa May still wants to take older people’s homes to fund social care.”
Havant Liberal Democrat Candidate Paul Gray added: “The Dementia tax is a disgrace. Having been encouraged throughout their lifetimes to put money into bricks and mortar, our elderly are now told their homes could be ripped away from them. 96% of homes in our area could have to be sold to pay for this death tax. I will fight against it with all my vigour.”
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has published a damning analysis of the Labour and Conservative manifestos, saying that neither party “has set out an honest set of choices.”
It says plans in the Conservative manifesto could do “serious damage” to the quality of public services such as the NHS and schools, while Labour’s tax rises may not raise anything like the tax revenues they have claimed.
The IFS has also previously stated that the revenue raised by the Liberal Democrats’ income tax rises, at around £6bn per year, is “more certain” than the revenue raised by Labour.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable said:
“Both the Conservatives and Labour are hiding the real impact of their plans from the public.
“Theresa May’s plans would decimate our public services while Jeremy Corbyn’s plans would decimate household finances.
“On top of that Labour has voted for Theresa May’s Brexit plans that will damage the economy and mean billions of pounds less funding for our schools and hospitals.
“The British people don’t have to accept this dismal choice, a brighter future is possible.
“The Liberal Democrats will put a penny on income tax to rescue the NHS and social care, and protect our economy and public services by fighting to stay in the single market and customs union.”
It was great to welcome to Tim Farron to the south coast today. Tim came to Portsmouth to visit the Mary Rose Academy, an excellent special school which the local Liberal Democrats were instrumental in getting built.
Tim, as ever, was open to chatting with the crowd and the assembled local and national press. Tim spoke passionately about the need to protect local services from a hard, divisive Brexit which would leave our economy severely damaged.
Then it was off again on the Lib Dem battle bus. Elections are tiring times for all those involved in the campaign as every second counts.
Having grown-up on Hayling, and having returned to the island some ten years ago, it is an honour and a privilege to offer my services to the people of my home town and the wider Havant area. I returned to our constituency after university in Manchester and a career in London.
My extensive management experience, gained in both the public and private sectors, would enable me to ensure Havant constituents are fiercely defended against any attempts to force yet more cuts to public services. Ultimately, I got involved in politics because I dearly love our neighbourhood, the people in it and care deeply about the issues which affect us all. I joined the Liberal Democrats as they echo my passionate vision for an open, tolerant, and united community.
Most recently I was involved with the successful relaunch of the Hayling Ferry service and the Save the Tip campaigns (which are happening all over our constituency). I also volunteer for the Queen Alexandra Hospital supporting our local nurses.
Primarily, I want our local area to be represented by someone who grew up here, knows the issues that are most important to local people, and calls this place home. This is in contrast to a career politician dropped into our constituency by Conservative HQ as if we were just a pin on their map.
As as candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the Hampshire County Council Elections Paul was asked to answer some questions from a Hayling Island Group relating to some important local issues.
Here are the questions and Paul’s responses.
- Will you strive to ensure that Hayling Infrastructure is adequate and sustainable for all development planned until the year 2036 – especially the Havant Road arterial connection to the mainland and its bridge?
Infrastructure investment lies at the heart of my plans for the island. If the island is to prosper, it is essential that our one and only arterial connection is fit for the 21st century. Beyond that, it is an absolute requirement that our health service and schools are fully funded and equipped to ensure our elderly are cared for and our children educated to the highest possible standards. I am convinced that any additional housing on the island can only be considered AFTER first class infrastructure is in place.
- What measures will you take to tackle fly tipping on Hayling Island?
Fly tipping is an increasing problem on our island due to the insane decision by the Conservatives to charge us for dumping our waste. I, along with all my colleagues in Hampshire Liberal Democrats, have a clear promise to the people of Hayling: WE WILL SCRAP THE CHARGES.
- Will you support the maintenance of the Household Waste Recycling Centre on Hayling Island?
Hampshire Liberal Democrats are not only prepared to maintain the Household Recycling Centre, we are committed to RETURNING TO FULL OPENING HOURS. This, along with our commitment to SCRAP THE CHARGES, is our promise to you. In short, I and my colleagues in Hampshire Liberal Democrats will REVERSE THE CUTS.
- Will you strive to get the funding for an upgrade to the Hayling Billy Trail, to make it very attractive to cycle commuters (getting cyclists off the Havant Road to improve traffic flow and cyclist safety)?
Absolutely. The Billy Trail is our primary alternative route between north and south and offers commuters and the wider public alike an opportunity to travel vehicle free. The Billy Trail faces long term decline if it is not repaired and maintained. I can commit here and now to doing precisely that.
- Will you actively support the maintenance of a viable Hayling Ferry service to Portsmouth, including the encouragement to bus companies to provide an integrated service from Hayling Island to Portsmouth, via the Ferry?
The connectivity of the service is vital to long term sustainability. That is why I propose a fixed term period in which the ferry itself would be subsidised whilst fully operational bus links could be established on both our side of the water and over in Portsmouth. It is important however that the ferry does not become a burden on us as tax payers and therefore the public could not and should not expect to subsidise the service beyond the fixed term period.
- Do you have any views about the possibility of providing an ambulance facility on Hayling Island?
With an ageing population on the island it is time we addressed this very real need. There is an argument to say that the island doesn’t have sufficient demand for an ambulance facility. I would argue that a facility placed at the north end of the island, which would then be able to service both island residents and those on the mainland, would be a cost effective commit to care.
- Do you have any preferred Hayling charities or deserving causes that you would like to support with your annual grant?
There are a number of charities which I currently work with, all of which are hugely deserving. I would also however like to explore the possibility of a ‘Hayling Day,’ where money could be invested in a celebration of all the good causes and all the great businesses we have on the island. It is such a shame our carnival has gone and it is time we reinvented the idea to again bring the community together.
- Will you be taking steps to ensure that the Library Service on Hayling is maintained into the future?
Again, the position of Hampshire Liberal Democrats is very clear; we will improve and maintain all of our services. Libraries are an often under valued community resource. They are a shared community space, open to us all and provide a world of invaluable information. For too long our library has been treated as if it were an antiquated relic. It is not. It is a vital facility and I will ensure it goes from strength to strength.
- Will you be supporting and encouraging the work of Cycle Hayling to provide an off-road North-South cycle route?
I will be supporting and looking to work with Cycle Hayling and other cycling groups on the island to deliver a cycle ‘highway’ for the island. Whilst the Billy Trail requires renovation, which I have committed to championing, the east side of our island entirely lacks a cycling alternative. I believe this is a perfect example of where the best outcome can be achieved by working, and listening, to community groups and that is precisely what I intend to do.
- Would you support the reinstatement of the bus subsidy for schools?
Definitely. Education has to be of primary concern to all of us. Messing with education is messing with our futures. I believe that we have to ensure our children and parents are supported in every way possible in getting to and from school. Our promise to the parents of Hayling is very simple: WE WILL REVERSE THE CUTS
The Hampshire County Could Election are taking place today and Paul (obviously) would really appreciate your vote, but if not I do urge you still to get out and vote.