LET me try to put into perspective the decision by the Tories that they can’t afford to give free school meals to kids from poorer homes over the holidays.

Not very long ago Boris appointed 32 new members of the House of Lords. I believe they now receive £323 per day for every day they attend – and it’s tax-free. So those

32 members could cost us £10,336 per day. The House usually sits from Mondays to Thursdays but it does sometimes sit on a Friday and, very rarely, also on a Saturday. Remember that they don’t have to stay all day. They sign on, sit in at a debate, and then go home, after enjoying a subsidised lunch in the canteen. Even if they are only there for part of the day, they still get paid the full day’s allowance, plus they can claim travelling expenses.

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The House usually sits for about 150 days per year. Some years it’s a bit more, some years a bit less but 150 is a fair average. If we multiply that last figure by 150, we get £1,550,400 as the potential annual cost. In fairness it should be pointed out that many of the Lords don’t attend frequently. For instance, in March 2020 the Duke of Montrose didn’t attend at all and received nothing in stipend, and Baroness Mone only attended on one day. There are several other examples of non-attendance.

But the point is that Boris was quite prepared to take on the possible cost of £1.5 million, plus expenses and subsidised canteen costs, for those people, some of whom are already millionaires, but he’s not prepared to provide free school meals for kids who might otherwise have to go hungry.

My meal this evening will cost me about £1.50 and it will be soup and a main dish; and I don’t skimp on my food. That means the money he has potentially spent on those he appointed to the House of Lords just months ago could provide at least one million free school meals. I truly believe he has got his priorities wrong. Is it any wonder his approval ratings are so low?

Charlie Kerr