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Schools: Catering

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what steps the Government have taken to improve kitchen facilities in schools since 1997; (183444)

(2) how much the Government have spent on school kitchen facilities in the West Midlands in each of the last five years.

The Government have increased the capital available for investment in school buildings sevenfold in real terms between 1997 and 2010. In 1996-97, it was under £700 million: by 2010-11 it will be more than £8.2 billion a year. Most of this funding can be used for school kitchens where this is the local priority. Authorities and schools in the West Midlands will get over £1 billion over the next three years. For each of the next three years, a typical secondary school will get over £113,000 of its own money and a typical primary over £34,000 which can be used to improve kitchens and dining areas if they wish. Additionally, we are providing £150 million of targeted funding by 2010 to support authorities install new kitchens in schools which have none and where there is exceptional need.

In 2007 the Department published "Inspirational Design for Kitchen and Dining Spaces" to give good guidance to authorities and schools on how to build kitchens that are efficient and suitable to cook good healthy food, and dining areas that are attractive to children and encourage healthy eating. This was prepared in consultation with the School Food Trust and industry professionals.

Investment decisions are made locally and the Department does not collect information on how much authorities and schools have invested in kitchen facilities. In 2007, authorities provided information on school building projects, including that in the previous 10 years there had been improvement to kitchens and serveries in over 2,300 schools nationally. The School Building Investment Data are available in the parliamentary libraries, showing the information from each local authority.