Government urged to investigate 'woefully inadequate' free school meals

A free school meal parcel

A free school meal parcel - Credit: Roadside Mum/Twitter

The government has been urged to investigate after images shared online showed “woefully inadequate” free school meal parcels sent to families.

Sharing the image, Twitter user Roadside Mum said: “2 days jacket potato with beans, 8 single cheese sandwiches, 2 days carrots, 3 days apples, 2 days soreen, 3 days frubes.

“Spare pasta & tomato. Will need mayo for pasta salad.

“Issued instead of £30 vouchers. I could do more with £30 to be honest.”

She estimated the cost of the food in the package at £5.22 based on prices at Asda.


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Footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford tweeted another picture and wrote: “3 days of food for 1 family… Just not good enough.

“Then imagine we expect the children to engage in learning from home.

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“Not to mention the parents who, at times, have to teach them who probably haven’t eaten at all so their children can… We MUST do better.”

The Department for Education wrote on Twitter: “We have clear guidelines and standards for food parcels, which we expect to be followed.

“Parcels should be nutritious and contain a varied range of food.”

Chartwells, the company which she said provided the parcel, responded to say they would investigate.

They said: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention, this does not reflect the specification of one of our hampers.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described the situation as “a disgrace”.

He tweeted: “The images appearing online of woefully inadequate free school meal parcels are a disgrace.

“Where is the money going?

“This needs sorting immediately so families don’t go hungry through lockdown.”

Children’s Minister Vicky Ford said she would be “urgently” look into the matter after one mother posted an image of a £30 parcel which was estimated to contain just over £5 worth of food.

After announcing her plans to investigate, Ford also defended the use of parcels instead of vouchers for families in need.

She tweeted: “One of the reasons why some schools have used food parcels rather than vouchers is that it helps keep them in touch with families.

“Very sadly during the pandemic there has been an increase in risk to some children. Do calll @NSPCC If you are concerned about a child.”

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