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School Meals: Finance

Volume 470: debated on Wednesday 23 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what representations he has received from local authorities on Government funding for infrastructure to support the provision of hot school meals; and if he will make a statement; (179300)

(2) what funding his Department will provide for each local authority to meet targets for provision of hot school meals.

[holding answer 15 January 2008]: We have received representations from a wide range of authorities about funding for the infrastructure to support the provision of hot school meals.

Capital funding for schools this year is £6.4 billion, rising to over £8 billion by 2010-11. Nearly all of this money is available for use to install or improve kitchen and dining areas in schools where this is the local priority. In addition, we are making available to local authorities £150 million of targeted capital funding between 2008 and 2011, to support the installation of new kitchens in schools where currently there are none, and where there is exceptional need.

Providing a hot meal does not require every school to have a kitchen. There are several ways of reheating food on school premises, such as using microwave ovens; or schools may use a centralised preparation and delivery service. The Government have invested £220 million between 2005-06 to 2007-08 to assist authorities and schools in improving school food and providing a hot school meal.

Further funding of £240 million over the three years 2008-09 to 2010-11 will also be available to local authorities and schools to help them manage the direct costs of providing a school lunch.