Critics attack free meals cost

Concerns are being raised about the Government's ability to afford a £1 billion giveaway handing all children under eight free school meals alongside a likely tax break for married couples.

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Critics attack free meals as 'bad use of public money'

Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam visited a school in Kirkintilloch yesterday. Credit: PA

Concerns are being raised about the Government's ability to afford a £1 billion giveaway handing all children under eight free school meals alongside a likely tax break for married couples.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced the £600 million school meals scheme under a deal with the Conservatives to allow them to press ahead with a tax break for married couples that is widely expected to cost around £500 million.

A Treasury spokesman said any plans for more spending or cuts "would be taken forward in the Autumn Statement".

Attacking the scheme, the Taxpayers' Alliance described it as a "conference gimmick" while the Institute of Economic Affairs said it was "an enormously bad use of public money".

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