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Prisons: Food

Volume 503: debated on Monday 11 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the average cost of providing a meal to a prisoner in the latest period for which figures are available. (308976)

The full cost of providing meals includes a number of elements including staff and prisoner labour, food, training (staff and prisoner), kitchen and servery facilities, utilities and other overheads, including management overheads, and it is not possible to fully identify these costs—some of which are shared resources across individual prisons and between prisons.

It is, however, possible to separately identify the cost of food. For 2008-09, the last full financial year for which figures are available, the average public sector Prison Service daily food cost per prisoner in England and Wales was £2.31.

The average food cost per meal per prisoner is based on the understanding that breakfast, lunch and dinner account for approximately 20 per cent., 40 per cent. and 40 per cent. of the daily food cost. Using these figures, the average cost per meal per prisoner was: breakfast 46.2p; lunch 92.4p; and, dinner 92.4p. But these percentages will vary from one establishment to another and are illustrative only.