Parents trying to use free school meal vouchers to buy ‘alcohol and cigarettes’ at Asda

Parents trying to use free school meal vouchers to buy ‘alcohol and cigarettes’ at Asda

Vouchers which can be spent at supermarkets are being given out during the coronavirus lockdown to children who would usually have free school meals. But a member of staff from Asda in Hull claimed some parents are trying to use them to buy other items including alcohol and toys and even become abusive when refused.

The Asda worker, who did not want to be named, said: “We’ve literally had abuse from customers who want to buy alcohol with them when we refuse.

“And I got so much abuse from a customer the other day because she wanted to buy her son Lego.

“I had told her she wasn’t allowed to buy toys with the voucher because it was intended to pay for the school dinners.

“You wouldn’t go to school and buy Lego. But because the vouchers don’t say it seems they’re allowed to buy whatever they want.”

The Asda worker warned that it had become a “big issue”.

She told Hull Live: “One guy came up with three cases of Carling, which were on offer for £21, no food or anything, and I refused the voucher.

“He said to me, ‘I spend enough on them t***ing kids as it is’.

READ MORE: Schools reopen: Entire class will be sent home if one child is ill

She said: “I’ve had parents wanting to buy their own underwear, bras and other things for themselves.

“The problem is that on the vouchers that do say buying alcohol is prohibited, we can police it, but when they don’t we can’t.

“It needs to be clearer so people can’t take advantage.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We are clear that the free school meals vouchers are for parents and carers to spend on grocery items and should not be spent on anything else.

“We thank all supermarket staff for their help in ensuring that these vouchers are used appropriately to give food to children.” has contacted Asda for comment.

Schools, colleges and nurseries closed seven weeks ago due to the coronavirus outbreak.

They have only remained open for vulnerable youngsters and the children of key workers.

Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 could return from June 1 at the earliest.

And all primary school pupils could go back for a month before the summer.

Published at Wed, 13 May 2020 15:29:00 +0000