This weekend we had a meal at a local restaurant. It’s part of a chain and to be honest the chain is irrelevant. We had a good time and enjoyed the food. When it came to pay the bill they added a 10p donation to the World Food Program‘s World Hunger Campaign. We had no objection and happily paid the bill.
It got us thinking though. What if all restaurant meals had this? What if every restaurant meal over a certain threshold (let’s say £3) had an automatic “tax” of 10p? Not 10% just 10p? How much would this raise? According to one industry site, about 148 million restaurant meals were eaten in the UK last year. This does not include take-aways but if the “tax” I suggest included them I guess we would be looking at it raising around £25million per annum. I’m not an expert but that’s a lot of money.
Now what if this were used to fund something like the WFP or maybe even fund free school dinners for more children in the UK? We’re told that the average cost for a school dinner is about £1.50. Families on benefits get free school dinners anyway but something like this could help a greater number and raise the threshold so those who are just above the benefit threshold (but still on very low income) could get some help too. If a child had a free cooked meal at school wouldn’t that help keep the family budget down and thus help raise a lot of families out of poverty? I suspect the answer is yes because otherwise the government wouldn’t already offer free school meals to the poorest families in the UK. Many studies have also shown that eating a nutritious lunch helps with studies and learning.
Okay so I guess a lot of financial and sociological experts will pick holes in this idea. I’m also sure there would be a lot of people who would object because they don’t have children or they should be able to choose to whom, when, how much and even if they donate. I still think it would be worth looking into and could be acceptable to many because a) it’s flat rate – if your meal costs £500 you still pay 10p, b) it’s a paltry amount, c) it’s easy to pay and d) it could make a real difference very quickly.