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".

Advertisement

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.