B1594 – Holiday Meal Provision Bill 2020

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Andrew97
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B1594 – Holiday Meal Provision Bill 2020, TSR Liberal Democrats

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Holiday Meal Provision Bill 2020

An Act introducing an entitlement to free meals or equivalent for disadvantaged children during school holidays.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1: Entitlement to meal provision in school holidays
(1) Where a child is entitled to free school lunches under section 512ZB of the Education Act 1996, they are also entitled to meal provision in school holidays.
(2) Entitlement to meal provision in school holidays applies—
(2) (a) during every week of the school holidays, as determined by the child’s school.
(2) (b) during every part-week of the school holidays, as determined by the child’s school, to an extent proportional to the number of days that fall within the school holidays.
(2) (c) on INSET days, as designated by the child’s school.

2: Nature of meal provision in school holidays
(1) Responsibility for meal provision in school holidays rests with the local authority.
(2) The nature of this provision may be—
(2) (a) provision of a daily mid-day meal, similar to a school lunch, to the child.
(2) (b) daily or weekly distribution of money equivalent to the value of a school lunch, to the persons with parental responsibility for the child.
(2) (c) daily or weekly distribution of food vouchers equivalent to the value of a school lunch, to the persons with parental responsibility for the child.
(3) The Secretary of State shall determine a monetary sum that is deemed to be equivalent to the value of a school lunch.
(4) The monetary sum in section 2(3) may be set universally across England or individually by local authority.

3: Definitions
(1) For the purposes of this Act, a ‘week’ runs from Monday to Friday, inclusive.
(2) ‘Local authority’ is defined as in the 1996 Act.
(3) ‘School lunch’ refers to a mid-day meal provided under the provisions of section 512 of the 1996 Act.
(4) ‘Food vouchers’ refers to vouchers provided by the local authority, which can be used to purchase food and drink in at least 60 per cent of supermarkets in England.
(5) ‘Supermarket’ refers to any retail premises with a retail floor area of not less than 280 square metres, of which at least 40 per cent is used for the sale of food and drink.

4: Extent, commencement and short title
(1) This Act extends to England.
(2) The provisions of this Act come into force immediately.
(3) This Act may be cited as the Holiday Meal Provision Act 2020.

Notes
Throughout the history of school lunches, it has been recognised that they have a particular role in providing a healthy midday meal to the poorest children. For many of these children, their school lunch is the only proper hot meal that they receive. During the school holidays, this essential meal provision usually disappears, but the need for it does not.

This bill proposes to introduce a new duty on local authorities to combat holiday hunger. This may theoretically be fulfilled in one of three ways: the provision of a meal, cash or vouchers. It is not anticipated that councils will usually choose to provide a meal themselves, though this option is available, and could be taken up where councils offer extra-curricular holiday activities, for example. It is more likely that councils will choose to provide money or vouchers, as they have been doing during the coronavirus school shutdown.

The quoted figure for the cost of extraordinarily extending meal provision over the summer holiday this year is £120m, equivalent to £20m per week. Spread across the 13 weeks of school holiday and one additional week of INSET days, this works out at £280m per year. As the infrastructure is for the most part already in place for this summer, the commencement is immediate.

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SnowMiku
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Pretty obvious but an Aye from me.
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Jammy Duel
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Why stop there, why not give them a ridiculous amount of money for the weekends too, or is it okay for them "to starve" at the weekend? How about the years before they started at school, should they be allowed to "starve" for all those years too?

And it appears once again I was right, didn't take long for the demands to roll in to make this a permanent thing, this is why the government was dumb to do it over Easter.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by SnowMiku)
Pretty obvious but an Aye from me.
If this were necessary it wouldn't be because these kids would have already starved to death in all the holidays that came before, and let's not forget the years before they were in school
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Theloniouss
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This seems sensible, although I'm not sure why local authorities can choose to give out money instead of meals or vouchers.
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
This seems sensible, although I'm not sure why local authorities can choose to give out money instead of meals or vouchers.
It's sensible? Given you clearly accept the premise behind the bill could you explain why this should only apply for the ~65 days of the year children are not in school because it is a school holiday and not the ~104 a year they are not in school because it is the weekend when, surely, the exact same need exists?
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El Salvador
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The left just literally wants to hand out free lunches
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LiberOfLondon
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For the nth time, making the money printer go brrrrrr is not a valid solution.

The role of the state is not to act as a food provider, especially when many people whose families claim free school meals already receive benefits. Furthermore, food banks already exist and charities seem to be dealing with this issue well. There is no need to have the state solve a problem that is already being solved by private charity.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
It's sensible? Given you clearly accept the premise behind the bill could you explain why this should only apply for the ~65 days of the year children are not in school because it is a school holiday and not the ~104 a year they are not in school because it is the weekend when, surely, the exact same need exists?
Because two days without a proper diet is not as bad as 6 concurrent weeks
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Miss Maddie
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I don't seek to live in a nanny state. Parents should provide for their own children. They already receive Child Benefit to help with the costs. If parents can't afford to feed their children that is not our responsibility. The children can go hungry (people can forego all food for 40 days before serious health problems set in). The other opinion is the parents visiting food banks and relying on charity.

I pay for my own food. I hate the idea of paying for someone else's through my taxes!
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
It's sensible? Given you clearly accept the premise behind the bill could you explain why this should only apply for the ~65 days of the year children are not in school because it is a school holiday and not the ~104 a year they are not in school because it is the weekend when, surely, the exact same need exists?
Regularity being one obvious reason that springs to mind: provision for 5 days a week year-round at least reduces the issue of long periods of time with zero provision.
(Original post by El Salvador)
The left just literally wants to hand out free lunches
Yes we do. Problem?
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
I pay for my own food. I hate the idea of paying for someone else's through my taxes!
Unfortunately for you, you were born in the modern era and that's how taxes work...
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Mr T 999
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
Regularity being one obvious reason that springs to mind: provision for 5 days a week year-round at least reduces the issue of long periods of time with zero provision.

Yes we do. Problem?
How many schools kids suffer from health issues from the lack of school lunches?
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by Mr T 999)
How many schools kids suffer from health issues from the lack of school lunches?
2,483 children in England were admitted to hospital this year for malnutrition.
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Miss Maddie
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Only 0.02% of children being admitted for malnourishment is a good achievement. It isn't a widespread problem that needs fixing.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
I don't seek to live in a nanny state. Parents should provide for their own children. They already receive Child Benefit to help with the costs. If parents can't afford to feed their children that is not our responsibility. The children can go hungry (people can forego all food for 40 days before serious health problems set in). The other opinion is the parents visiting food banks and relying on charity.

I pay for my own food. I hate the idea of paying for someone else's through my taxes!
No, they can't. If you are so sure of that, go a week without eating anything and see what it does to you - just because you can go 40 days without eating doesn't mean it's safe to do so.

Not to mention we're talking about children here, who can't survive without food as long as adults can. Are you suggesting the state should only intervene in children's health when they're about to die?
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
No, they can't. If you are so sure of that, go a week without eating anything and see what it does to you - just because you can go 40 days without eating doesn't mean it's safe to do so.

Not to mention we're talking about children here, who can't survive without food as long as adults can. Are you suggesting the state should only intervene in children's health when they're about to die?
If a person is properly hydrated the severe symptoms set in around day 40. Death is around days 60 and later. This has been well studied throughout history in various prison strikes than have taken place. 40 days is an extreme and children would not go 40 days without food if these measures are not introduced.

Yes! Exactly that. The state intervenes when children are in hospital nearing death.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
If a person is properly hydrated the severe symptoms set in around day 40. Death is around days 60 and later. This has been well studied throughout history in various prison strikes than have taken place. 40 days is an extreme and children would not go 40 days without food if these measures are not introduced.

Yes! Exactly that. The state intervenes when children are in hospital nearing death.
I'm not quite sure how to explain that we have a greater duty of care for children than just rescuing them from the brink of death - it seems quite obvious to me
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Saracen's Fez
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
Only 0.02% of children being admitted for malnourishment is a good achievement. It isn't a widespread problem that needs fixing.
You realise that's only the figure for children admitted to hospital, not the figure for children suffering from malnutrition?
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Mr T 999
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That is less than half a percent of kids starving which is not as bad it is made out to be here. The article also mentions food banks have seen an increase in usages so it looks like private charity is doing it's job in helping them so I don't see the need for the state to intervene.
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