North Yorks school meal price freeze

North Yorkshire County Council has frozen the price of primary school meals.

The move has been billed as an attempt to help hard-pressed families, while continuing to improve the quality of dinners served to children.

Like councils across the country, North Yorkshire has been told it must cut back on spending and save cash.

The price of meals at primary schools will not take any of that additional burden, sticking at its current cost of £2.10 per day.

That is a total interest of five per cent over the last three years, which the council says is a far smaller rise than the inflation of food costs in general.

However, discounts for siblings are to be stopped at the end of this month.

Permission for this discount was given for three years by the Government, at a time of increased costs to the catering service.

It was a moved aimed at easing the financial burden for families with more than one child, when the price of meals had risen ahead of inflation in 2008.

County Councillor Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire’s executive member for schools said: “We are only too aware of the financial pressures families are under at the present time and despite the county council’s economic challenges which require millions of pounds worth of savings to be found, members are determined that school meals should be affordable and offer good value for money, so that all children have the opportunity to have a nutritious meal in the middle of the day.

“Good nutrition is essential to children’s health and well being and their ability to make the most of their learning.

“We are proud of our drive to deliver high quality meals to North Yorkshire’s children, which is why, despite the freeze on the price of a meal, we continue to drive quality upwards and improve the standards of the produce used.”

To accompany the news, the council has put out a list of what it views as positive selling p;oints for its school meals service.

First, it says that only fresh meat and poultry is used in school dinners, and that all of it sourced in Yorkshire.

Next, it says that half of all fruit and vegetables are sourced from the north of England.

There are plans to increase this percentage in the coming years.

Meanwhile, most of the seasonal salad requirements are met by growers in the Humberside region.

And all eggs are free range and produced in Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire County Caterers has been awarded a Good Egg Award for its free range policy from the animal welfare charity Compassion in World Farming.

Finally, the council has added that the great majority of cheese is sourced from Lancashire made with local milk.

l Are you happy about these measures, or the school meals service in general - either in North Yorkshire or under Leeds? Does this price freeze go far enough towards alleviating financial problems for parents?

Have your say by emailing or writing a letter to The Editor, Wetherby News, 9 Westgate, Wetherby, LS22 6LL.