Dawn Foster’s numbers

They just never do work out, do they?

Yet for thousands of families, the six-week school break is characterised not by play schemes and day trips in the sun, but acute financial stress, hunger and malnourishment, due to the absence of free school meals for children on low incomes that costs a family £30-£40 a week.

£30 to £40 a week to feed a child?

OK, let’s say two kids, the UK modal family size.

Aaaaah – she means that school meals cost £3 a day. And poor peeps get them free. So, if there’s no school and people aren’t getting the free meals then that costs them £3 a meal.

Which is unadulterated bollocks of course. But then Foster’s numbers never do add up, do they?

45 thoughts on “Dawn Foster’s numbers”

  1. The poor family obviously has to employ a servant to make the meals for the kiddywinks. Because the helpless tots cannot actually assemble a sandwich or eat an apple by themselves.
    Hands up anyone who couldn’t eat an apple unassisted after the age of 5!

  2. ““It’s not stigmatising, because I think if you call it a ‘hunger club’ or something like that people will feel ashamed. And they shouldn’t feel ashamed, but people do. It’s a dereliction of the state that they are in that mess.””

    Christ, where to start? They shouldn’t ‘feel ashamed’? No need to worry, love, they are incapable of shame. We’ve abolished it, remember?

    And it’s not the state’s duty to feed anyone.

  3. John 77 – puts hands up.
    Why would I eat a disgusting fruit? I haven’t eaten an apple ever.
    Not everyone likes the same fruit.

    As for apples, they are not lunch.

    Perhaps the kids are too young to make the right kind of cooked lunch? I

  4. OK, let’s say two kids, the UK modal family size.

    Well in her defence she’s probably talking about ferals with five kids…

    Even so, with free grub from foodbanks and child benefit, I fail to see how the littl’uns can suffer, unless the fat ones are eating them.

    UK supermarkets may have their faults, but the shelves are groaning with cheap food.

  5. Three pounds sterling a day? Good grief! It was a shilling back in my day. I only remember because there was a pair of twins in my class who would present teacher with a ten bob note every Monday morning. And no free meals in those days either. We had our pride. No arse in our trousers mind, but we had our pride.

  6. If parents don’t feed their kids, remove them from the home. The way it used to be, before the state decided it had a better way.

    “You keep the kids, and we’ll pay you for it!”

    The state, creating positive consequences for negative behavior.

  7. Gamecock
    We already pay the parents to feed their kids – child benefit, family credit etc. In reality it turns out that the feckless fail to spend the money on their children. There should be shame involved. Which is why the tv show on the topic is called “Shameless”…

  8. Neither fish fingers nor sardines are expensive, so a healthy fishy breakfast is cheap. (Sardines at Tesco, 40p a tin; presumably cheaper at Aldi.) Add a glass of milk and half a banana each and send the children into the world with a good start to the day. Or an orange each. Or a glass of orange juice. Or a glass of tomato juice.

    Hell, you can feed me for £40 a week ( plus, say, a tenner for crisps and wine/beer/cider/fizzy water/Dandelion and Burdock).

  9. “We had our pride. No arse in our trousers mind, but we had our pride.”

    Yep, my thoughts exactly. What happened to self-respect?

  10. Tesco website:

    Birds Eye original beef burgers, packet of ten, 567g, £2.50.

    Tropicana OJ, 1.6 litres, 2.50.

    Smoked salmon pate, 100g, £1.

    Chicken liver pate, 200g, £1.

    Shopping around might reveal cheaper options.

    P.S. Somebody who wanted to make her own pate can buy chicken livers from Tesco for 50p per 225g. (We often find Tesco almost giving away chicken livers which is why we have lots of delicious pate in our freezer.)

  11. Even bacon doesn’t cost the earth: 300g back bacon, smoked or unsmoked, £1.09. How many childhood sandwiches would that provide?

  12. @ Martin
    OK – you’re perfectly entitled to your opinion. I only chose apple because it was the most difficult to eat of the common english-grown fruits (apples, pears, plums, blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, strawberries, blackcurrants), so if a child can cope with an apple he/she should be able to cope with any of them. [I don’t eat “eating apples” myself but I thought it the right question.]

  13. Also in the Guardian:

    – Kids are too fat because food is so cheap
    – Farmers and food suppliers are being bled to death by supermarkets forcing them to lower prices
    – Cheap food is bad for the environment
    – Everyone should go vegetarian

  14. @ dearieme
    Smoked Salmon pate is much more expensive than Tesco Ardennes or Brussels pate and Tesco own-brand is much cheaper than Bird’s Eye. Tesco own-brand orange juice is drinkable and about half the price of Tropicana. So one doesn’t even need to shop around.

  15. £40 a week? My food bill averages £20, including the occasional splurge on a fish supper and pigging out on tubs of ice cream and biscuits.

  16. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    Tsk, you are all missing the elephant in the room.

    You’ll be lucky to find Saveloy and chips for under 3 quid.

    One might just manage a MCD’s burger, fries and a small drink.

    I like elphants, but couldn’t eat a whole one….

  17. “Smoked Salmon pate is much more expensive than Tesco Ardennes or Brussels pate”: yes, they are quite different foods. Different foods often cost different amounts.

    ‘So one doesn’t even need to shop around.”
    You’re just shopping around within the Tesco website. On that subject, do you see how cheap baked beans are?

  18. @Roué le Jour,

    … and was your little shaven head painted purple because you had ringworm? (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2AcJSkUw6M )

    The left-wing bollocks about poor people unable to eat drives me feckin’ mad. I think an adult, on their own, would struggle to eat properly for £1 a day, but the more people there are to feed, the lower the per capita cost becomes

  19. Ducky

    Yup.

    From your article:

    “Surging battery production has almost quadrupled wholesale prices of cobalt over the past two years, from $22 to $81 per kilogram.”

    1982 CBO report

    https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/51xx/doc5126/doc29-entire.pdf

    “From 1977 through 1979, the price per pound of imported cobalt rose from approximately $5.50 to approximately $25.00; spot prices as high as $50.00 per pound were recorded, and cobalt was in short supply”

  20. “Which is why the tv show on the topic is called “Shameless”…”

    And you can bet the children supposedly starving (on £40 a week) can be found sitting in front of a giant TV screen, costing hundreds of pounds…

  21. A pack of lamb’s liver sufficient for two adults costs 90p at M and bloody S! Five minutes in a frying pan and the job’s a good ‘un.

  22. “We already pay the parents to feed their kids – child benefit, family credit etc. In reality it turns out that the feckless fail to spend the money on their children. There should be shame involved.”

    How’s that working out for you?

    My point is you shouldn’t be giving them anything. They take care of their kids, or you take their kids. Giving them stuff isn’t working. It can’t work. Relying on shame isn’t going to work, either.

  23. @ dearieme
    I am not shopping around on Tesco’s website – down here we don’t have a Waitrose or even a full size Sainsbury, so I am quoting from my not-quite-daily shopping to buy bread (*not* from Tesco, we do have a decent baker), milk, fruit in betweeen market days, household items etc.
    I have no idea whatsoever about the price of baked beans because I don’t eat them – I assume that they’re good value for money as a staple diet for the poor.
    Proposed new definition of “rich” – “can choose not to eat baked beans” (so in the top few % in the world) – OTOH we can’t afford to live in Cambridge even though that would mean my wife could walk to CUL.

  24. “my wife could walk to CUL”: are you being rude in French?

    Baked beans are not only for the poor. They are a delightful accompaniment to suitably spicy bangers: Cumberland sausages, for example. They do, though, ruin toast.

  25. @ dearieme
    NO, I have to drive her there about once every three weeks – she reckons that access to CUL is one of the major benefits of being an alumna. I occasionally get sent to the market while she’s browsing and am mildly amused that it sells “Oxford Blue” Cheese whereas Oxford market used to sell “Blue Cheshire” instead.
    *You* may think baked beans delightful – I do not: like Tolkien (an Oxonian) I think sausages should be accompanied by mushrooms.

  26. I really only like baked beans on toast.

    Pairing them with high quality sausage is the work of a dangerous deviant…

  27. “like Tolkien (an Oxonian) I think sausages should be accompanied by mushrooms”: yeah, but he probably hoped to find an elf under every mushroom.

  28. But a giant TV does not costs hundreds of pounds a week, it’s hundreds of pounds as a one-off purchase, amortised over five years that’s about two quid a week, and that’s if bought as new. My huge CRT cost nowt as my brother was chucking it away, 20 years later my flat screen cost nowt as my mum was chucking it away.

  29. “But a giant TV does not costs hundreds of pounds a week”
    And I didn’t suggest that one does cost hundreds of pounds a week!

    And this sort of punter won’t be happy with a cast-off, as you or I might. Only the latest will do…

  30. @dearieme,

    Beans-on ruin toast, which is why I eat beans with toast. Same with scrambled eggs, heinz spag ec.

    .

    When my brother & I were children:
    Breakfast – cereal & milk
    Lunch – beans, sardines, poached eggs etc & toast or soup & bread

    Cheap, nutritious and easy. Cost of B&L for two <£1 pd.

  31. dearieme said:
    “’my wife could walk to CUL’: are you being rude in French?”

    Well, Cambridge is a bit of an arse.

  32. No free school meals during the school holidays AND period poverty! How do such families cope in this Dickensian hell-hole?

  33. Given that a school can benefit from bulk purchasing, it could be even more than 30-40 pounds a week for 2 kids.

    That’s still the cost of a couple large combos at McDonalds.

    And, frankly, why should I care? These people *chose* to have children they can’t afford to feed? Sure, its not fair on the kids – its not fair on me either.

    Oh, a) if a kid is ‘going hungry’ because *one* state-provided meal is not available then there’s, you know, food banks and b) no one is experiencing ‘malnutrition’ because they eat cheesy-mac for one meal a day over 6 weeks. Not if the rest of their food is reasonably nutritious. And its not hard to afford fresh fruit and vegetables, so no – that’s not an excuse.

    These people are like my boss who, on more than one occasion, I’ve had to tell that failure to plan on his part – or *choosing to rely on people he knows are unreliable* – does not constitute an emergency on mine.

  34. “john 77
    July 25, 2018 at 9:14 am
    . . .
    Hands up anyone who couldn’t eat an apple unassisted after the age of 5!”

    Dude, over here we have people claiming, with a straight face, that *hotdogs* constitute a choking hazard unless cut into bite-sized bits.

  35. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Baked beans are not only for the poor. They are a delightful accompaniment to suitably spicy bangers: Cumberland sausages, for example. They do, though, ruin toast.”

    I see Pcar beat me to the beans and toast comment. Best toast is made with sourdough bread, nice and crispy.

    Back on topic, for a lot of children school lunch is the main meal of the day in terms of nutrition, it certainly was for us, and then beans and toast would be what we had for tea. If parents were to replicate what we had for school dinner, meat, 2 veg and potatoes plus a small pudding it would be more expensive.

    I have to confess, I have no idea what the standard school dinner consists of nowadays. Twenty five years ago my son had healthy sandwiches and a chocolate bar and then got a decent meal at home, which is definitely cheaper.

  36. “Fenland Polytechnic needs to learn to read: elves were twice as tall as Hobbits”

    FP was making an allusion to a well known literary story. Pity you didn’t pick it up.

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