Thursday, 19 September 2013

When the Lib Dems didn't like "Happy Meals".

 Nick Clegg’s  managed to get much needed headlines with his plans for free lunches for primary school children  in England .

And so AM Aled Roberts  at Subordinate  Central   immediately call s on the Welsh Government to copy such a scheme.

He writes.

The Welsh Labour government should use the money which will come to Wales as a result of yeserday’s school meals announcement in England to fund a similar scheme.
As a result of Nick Clegg’s announcement yesterday of free school meals for every child in infant schools in England, Wales is set to receive around £30m under the Barnett Formula.
The Liberal Democrats understand the financial strain families across the UK are under and we are doing all we can to help people in difficult times.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the money that will come from the Treasury, following this announcement, to fund a similar programme in Wales.
Families across the UK spend around £400 on school meals in a year. The announcement by Nick Clegg at the Liberal Democrat conference will help the family budget. We want to see the Welsh Labour government do something similar to ease the pressure families in Wales are under.

But as Aled knows Wales already offers s Free Breakfast scheme which the Lib Dems have not always been enthusiastic about.

Back in 2007 The Liberal Democrats have opened their spring conference in Swansea by accusing their opponents of adopting "happy meal politics".

Then just a AM Kirsty Williams attacked the other parties for offering free giveaways in the assembly elections campaign rather than substantial plans for Wales.

Before any Lib Dems claim that she wasn't talking about Free Breakfasts  for school children ,La Pasionaria had  also criticised minister in Cardiff for introducing free breakfasts at the expense of teacher numbers. In 2006 she argued

“Powys may lose up to 70 teachers this year because of cuts in education. While of course I recognise the importance of a good breakfast to a child’s wellbeing, resources are finite. When it comes to a choice between the two, I would rather see teachers in classrooms than breakfasts. The Labour Assembly Government clearly does not share my priorities, and I am concerned that it is our children’s education that will suffer.”

So if Wales were to receive extra money why shouldn't this be targeted to the Free Breakfast scheme  and any residue towards increasing Teacher number? 

Or will credit go to the Welsh Government rather than Kirsty's Party.

Once again the Lib Dems come up with a policy they previously criticised some Councils for they did in  Southwark (Hat Tip toLeft Foot Foward.
Free school meals

Typical Lib Dems attack other Ideas . Then claim them for themselves.


  1. Think the minor backlash the lib dems have had over this is a bit odd. Yes Southwark Lib Dems might feel slightly embarrassed, but since when did one local party group speak for a whole party?

    As for the welsh lib dems, I think you've been slightly unfair.

    Surely it would be a lot more fair of you to point out the thing that counts (ie their voting record)? The Welsh Lib Dems voted FOR free school breakfasts and bemoaned the fact that Welsh Labour weren't going to make it universal.

    You reference a single quote from 2006. That's a long time ago, surely people are allowed to change their minds? But more importantly, you are being unfair as even from that period it would seem the WLDs supported the policy.

    1. Anon: Yes well the LibDem supported the policy and apparently condemned it at the same time.

      Could it be that such a policy as free breakfast wasn't as popular in Powys than Blaneau Gwent for instance?

      Call me an Old Cynic (and I am one) but it looks like a typical Lib Dem ploy of saying one thing in one area and the opposite in another

      Abnd it seems that Southwark Lib Dems are not alone They did the same in Islington ,Hull and Workinton. I expect the list will grow.

  2. "a typical Lib Dem ploy of saying one thing in one area and the opposite in another"

    You're clearly not that cynical, otherwise you would realise that is the same for all parties. Don't pretend some are worse than others, otherwise you really are naive. Need I mention you're beloved Plaid and their recent campaigning in the Anglesey by-election?

    The policy is good news and it's right for the WLDs to call for it to also happen in Wales. Instead of saying whether you would like such an important thing to happen here in Wales, you instead dig out a couple of sentences from 7 or so years ago. Talk about tribal!