Cost of school meals to rise in Helston and on the Lizard

Cost of school meals to rise in Helston and on the Lizard

Cost of school meals to rise in Helston and on the Lizard

First published in News

Parents of youngsters at schools in Helston and on the Lizard are facing a five per cent increase in the cost of school meals. Cornwall Council is considering a 10p-per-meal price rise, effective from the start of the September term later this year.

At the same time, many schools are worried that a dramatic increase in the number of infants who will soon be getting a free lunch will test catering facilities to breaking point.

The plan to give every infant in the country a free, hot meal at lunchtime was the main announcement from deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at his party’s annual conference last year.

The original estimated cost, last September, was put at £635million. Mr Clegg said it would save an average family £400 per year.

But now it is not clear if the government will find the money for a hot lunchtime meal. Recent ministerial statements have spoken of only a “healthy” meal instead – in line with the previous government policy, which had claimed that a well-designed pre-packed cold lunch could meet required nutritional standards. Also, many school canteens, particularly where catering services have been outsourced to national companies, no longer have the facilities to handle hot food. This has led some councils to worry if they should raid capital budgets to upgrade facilities, or even contemplate using money from the “Pupil Premium,” which is supposed to be targeted specifically at those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

According to the Liberal Democrat blog, Lib Dem Voice, more than a quarter of Liberal Democrat party members think Mr Clegg has got his priorities wrong – 27 per cent said the initiative reflected poor judgement, while 60 per cent backed the deputy Prime Minister. The remaining 13 per cent either didn’t know or had no opinion.

The government is now planning to spend £2.30 per meal to finance free lunches for infants. Cornwall Council said there would be no charge to parents for infants’ lunches. Its survey of school canteens, to determine how they might be able to provide hot food, is due to report later this month.

Most school dinners in Cornwall are provided by the national contractor Chartwell’s. September’s rise will be the first price increase for three years, taking the cost to parents to £2.35. Cornwall Council pays a subsidy of approximately 60 pence per meal.

Comments (5)

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8:34am Thu 6 Mar 14

Gillian R.Z. Martin says...

So the governments previous big announcement and plan to give every infant a free school hot meal at lunchtime has now become a "healthy" pre packed cold lunch. Another ill thought out pie in the sky government idea.
So the governments previous big announcement and plan to give every infant a free school hot meal at lunchtime has now become a "healthy" pre packed cold lunch. Another ill thought out pie in the sky government idea. Gillian R.Z. Martin
  • Score: 5

3:54pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Tony Dean says...

£2.35 a meal? I suspect taking the job "in house" and getting rid of the contractor could drop that cost, especially with direct from the farm ingredients.
£2.35 a meal? I suspect taking the job "in house" and getting rid of the contractor could drop that cost, especially with direct from the farm ingredients. Tony Dean
  • Score: 5

4:03pm Fri 7 Mar 14

Gillian R.Z. Martin says...

There are 236 primary schools in Cornwall and only four fifths actually have working kitchens, those that do not, have the meals brought in from those that do have facilities to handle hot food, in order to cope with the uptake of the free school meals for infants, some schools will need to extend their facilities or introduce new working kitchens.
The above article says some councils are wondering if they should raid their capital budgets. As the free meal initiative came from the government, should the government not finance the extra kitchen facilities that will be needed.
There are 236 primary schools in Cornwall and only four fifths actually have working kitchens, those that do not, have the meals brought in from those that do have facilities to handle hot food, in order to cope with the uptake of the free school meals for infants, some schools will need to extend their facilities or introduce new working kitchens. The above article says some councils are wondering if they should raid their capital budgets. As the free meal initiative came from the government, should the government not finance the extra kitchen facilities that will be needed. Gillian R.Z. Martin
  • Score: 10

10:17am Sun 9 Mar 14

DCI Jen says...

Where did you get that info Gill?

Why are Cornwall Council paying to subsidise all school meals by 60p when they are cutting back on other essential services? I think they should only be subsiding or paying in full for those on means tested benefits. How do people feed their children during the holiday time? I wouldn't expect anyone to subsidise my children's meals unless I was on means tested benefits. Helston Community College is falling to bits and Cornwall Council say they can't afford a re build, despite I believe, the previous Conservative council administration having plenty of capital reserves to cover the cost, but hey ho, never mind if the school falls to bits, all the children can still have a subsidised dinner. Is there an update on Helston Community College repairs?
Where did you get that info Gill? Why are Cornwall Council paying to subsidise all school meals by 60p when they are cutting back on other essential services? I think they should only be subsiding or paying in full for those on means tested benefits. How do people feed their children during the holiday time? I wouldn't expect anyone to subsidise my children's meals unless I was on means tested benefits. Helston Community College is falling to bits and Cornwall Council say they can't afford a re build, despite I believe, the previous Conservative council administration having plenty of capital reserves to cover the cost, but hey ho, never mind if the school falls to bits, all the children can still have a subsidised dinner. Is there an update on Helston Community College repairs? DCI Jen
  • Score: 5

12:22pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Gillian R.Z. Martin says...

DCI Jen wrote:
Where did you get that info Gill?

Why are Cornwall Council paying to subsidise all school meals by 60p when they are cutting back on other essential services? I think they should only be subsiding or paying in full for those on means tested benefits. How do people feed their children during the holiday time? I wouldn't expect anyone to subsidise my children's meals unless I was on means tested benefits. Helston Community College is falling to bits and Cornwall Council say they can't afford a re build, despite I believe, the previous Conservative council administration having plenty of capital reserves to cover the cost, but hey ho, never mind if the school falls to bits, all the children can still have a subsidised dinner. Is there an update on Helston Community College repairs?
The information came from the Packet archives!
[quote][p][bold]DCI Jen[/bold] wrote: Where did you get that info Gill? Why are Cornwall Council paying to subsidise all school meals by 60p when they are cutting back on other essential services? I think they should only be subsiding or paying in full for those on means tested benefits. How do people feed their children during the holiday time? I wouldn't expect anyone to subsidise my children's meals unless I was on means tested benefits. Helston Community College is falling to bits and Cornwall Council say they can't afford a re build, despite I believe, the previous Conservative council administration having plenty of capital reserves to cover the cost, but hey ho, never mind if the school falls to bits, all the children can still have a subsidised dinner. Is there an update on Helston Community College repairs?[/p][/quote]The information came from the Packet archives! Gillian R.Z. Martin
  • Score: 3

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