Give them support, not free breakfasts

Launch of school breakfast scheme at Devonshire Road Primary School.
Launch of school breakfast scheme at Devonshire Road Primary School.
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BLACKPOOL’S Tories have hit out at the town’s free breakfast clubs and claim placing social workers in schools would be a better way of tackling truancy and neglect.

The resort’s Labour-run council launched a £700,000 three-month pilot scheme this week which will see all the town’s 12,000 primary school pupils offered free breakfasts in a bid to boost achievement.

But Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservatives on Blackpool Council, said while he recognised the benefits of ensuring children were not hungry in lessons, he feared the initiative was “rewarding bad parents.”

Coun Williams added: “I want to see more effort put into better parenting schemes and a system that is more aggressive in punishing child neglect than rewarding those who can’t be bothered to feed their children.

“A Conservative council will deliver better breakfast clubs that give real educational and attendance benefits that would be open to all, and low priced on a confidential able to pay basis.

“We will introduce social workers into primary and junior schools working with families and teachers addressing truancy, neglect and achievement and fixing the problems at source.”

But council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “Four years of Conservative rule led to zero action on school breakfast and zero action on social workers in schools.

“Restricting breakfast to those on benefits massively stigmatises the recipients, and loses all of the benefits of communal eating - he knows this, but choses to ignore it.”