Jamie Oliver has called on the government to give all children from households on universal credit free school meals.
Currently, only the children of parents who claim universal credit and have an annual income of no more than £7,400 after tax are eligible for free school meals.
According to Bite Back 2030 – an organisation ensuring all children have access to healthy and nutritious food – this means there are around 800,000 children living in poverty without free school meals in the UK.
The celebrity chef has now thrown his support behind the organisation’s mission, with him telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this week: “If you earn over £7,400, you won’t get that free school lunch.
“But I think we’d all agree that there’s a massive gap between the means test for free school lunches as it stands and Universal Credit.
“I think what the Government are saying is Universal Credit tethers off and can go up to sort of £30,000 – £40,000, but really we’re talking about the bulk of them being around £14,000 per household.”
The chef admitted he has ‘no faith’ that the prime minister would change her views, but added that he was ‘up for the fight’ to improve children’s health.
He also said he believed that investing in free school meals for children would help boost the economy, adding: “The reality is, if you speak to the best minds in economics in the country… in the world, they will tell you that if you output healthier kids, you’re going to have a more productive, more profitable country.
“We know in every way, shape and form that kids who have a decent lunch and breakfast learn better, their educational attainment is better… but no one’s taken it seriously yet.”
In response, Health and Social Care Secretary Therese Coffey also told Today that it was important that support for struggling families was ‘targeted’.
She said if all children from families on universal credit were allowed to have free school meals, ‘taxpayers may be surprised to learn that somebody on £35,000 or £40,000 would all of a sudden be eligible’.
This comes after the Labour party pledged to give all primary school pupils a free breakfast under their childcare plan, regardless of their family’s wealth and financial situation.
Northern housing estate so rough bus drivers were forced to stop going there
The services were fully suspended over the weekend following a spate of antisocial behaviour
A northern housing estate became so plagued with anti-social behaviour that bus drivers were told to avoid stopping there.
Two bus routes through the Swarcliffe Estate in Leeds were cancelled earlier in the year after teenagers reportedly targeted the vehicles and passengers with stones and rocks.
In a social media statement, First West Yorkshire announced that the 40 and 56 services would be avoiding the estate in both directions, citing ‘attempted vandalism’.
The tweet thread read: “SERVICE UPDATE – 40/56. Due to attempted vandalism, we are diverting away from the Swarcliffe Estate in both directions.
“So sorry for any issues this may cause on your journey.
“This will be in place until the end of service this evening. This is for the safety of both our drivers and passengers. I am sorry for the disruption caused.”
In a post on Facebook, Councillor Jessica Lennox, of Cross Gates and Whinmoor ward, addressed the vandalism, confirming that the 40 and 56 buses would be diverting around the area ‘as a result of some serious vandalism that took place earlier’.
Residents have previously spoken about how they ‘live in fear’ on the estate, saying intimidating anti-social behaviour is becoming worse.
One local teenager told Leeds Live of the youths who vandalised the buses: “They throw stones and break the buses whenever they come down here. I wasn’t surprised.
“Just the other day I saw three buses stopped at the bottom of the estate because they all had glass smashed everywhere. It had gone over a nearby mum and her pram.
“If you see a big group of people anywhere around here you turn around and go the other way.”
Her grandmother added: “Stones are always thrown at buses around here as there’s nothing for the kids to do… It’s really bad where big groups gather around the Co-Op.
“My grandson lives around the corner and he’s been attacked twice. We don’t really go out at night, and would use a taxi if we did. It’s not nice for the drivers or the passengers.”
Another resident, Keith Pettman, told the outlet that the estate was suffering major issues with antisocial behaviour, saying: “There’s some youths on the estate that are a little rowdy.
“They mess about with bikes and things like all bored teenagers do but I know they get in the way of buses and people.
“There’s definitely vandals around that will smash a few things up every so often. The field also gets ripped up and recently a load of dustbins got set on fire.”
Pub chain giving away FREE pints to anyone with one of these 50 surnames
Are you on the list?
England’s World Cup campaign got off to a flying start yesterday with a convincing 6-2 win over Iran.
Our Welsh neighbours – who are also in Group B with us – managed a draw with the USA, thanks to a late Gareth Bale penalty.
But goals aren’t the only thing to celebrate this World Cup, as a pub chain is giving away FREE pints to lucky fans who have one of 50 surnames.
Greene King is dishing out a free drink to anyone who has the same surname as a player in either the England or Wales squads.
If you have one of the lucky last names, you can claim a pint on the house at any point during an England or Wales game.
All you have to do is head to a participating Greene King pub with your driving licence or passport to prove your name.
Anyone with one of these 50 surnames can claim the free pint:
All you need to do is head down to your nearest participating boozer and show the bar your photo ID during any England or Wales World Cup group stage game.
You can find the nearest pub to you taking part in the offer here.
Will Ferrell appeals for spare room in North West to watch Eurovision
Got any room for Will?
Earlier this year it was announced that Eurovision 2023 would be held in Liverpool instead of Kiev, due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Following the news, all hotels and accommodation in the city quickly sold out – with many establishments dramatically increasing their prices in the process.
As such, finding somewhere to stay during the annual song contest has become nigh on impossible, even if you’re a Hollywood superstar like Will Ferrell.
Will recently appealed for help in finding accommodation for next year’s Eurovision during an appearance on BBC Radio 2 to promote his new film Spirited.
The actor previously wrote and starred in the 2020 film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, playing Icelandic singer Lars Erickssong.
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During the BBC interview, Zoe Ball mentioned how much she enjoyed the film, to which Will responded: “And it’s in Liverpool this year, isn’t it?”
After being asked if he wanted to go, he said: “You know my mother really wants me to take her to Eurovision, she’s dying to go and she’s always wanted to go to Liverpool.”
Will added: “But aren’t the hotels all booked now?”
After the comedian appealed for a spare room to stay in, Zoe said: “If anyone is willing to put up Will Ferrell and his mum in Liverpool or the Liverpool area during Eurovision.”
Will revealed his requirements: “We need a clean, tidy room. We’ll share a room – two bunk beds that’s all we need. I know we’re kidding but my mom would love that, she’d be thrilled.”
Eurovision 2023 will consist of two semi-finals on May 9th and 11th, before the final on May 13th.