Campaign launched to stop Tories’ 41% school meal price hike in Derbyshire

‘We can send a powerful message to the Tory County Council so they stop and think about the impact their policy will have on families in Derbyshire.’

school dinners

As children head back to school for the new term, the Tory-run Derbyshire County Council (DCC) has proposed to increase the cost of school dinners in the region by 95p a day from £2.30 to £3.25. It would mark a 41 percent increase and would be far above the national average cost of £2.65.

Under the proposal, a family with two children at a state school in Derbyshire will pay an additional £370.50 a year on school dinners.

With other household bills rising sharply, including rocketing energy and mortgage payments, the increase would place additional financial strain on families, as well as potentially affecting the wellbeing of children, making it more difficult for them to access healthy and nutritious meals at school.

Aimed at stopping the 41 percent increase from being implemented, East Midlands Labour have launched a petition opposing the proposed rises. The campaign states:

We firmly believe that access to affordable, healthy school meals is a fundamental right for every child in Derbyshire. It not only supports their physical and mental well-being but also ensures that they have the energy and focus needed to excel in their studies.”

The petition wants the proposed increase to be delayed and for a charge of £2.65, which is in line with the national average, to be introduced in the interim. The party is also calling for the proposed price rise to be referred to the Health Improvement and Scrutiny Board at DCC to consider the wider impact that the rise could have on children’s health if they cannot afford school meals. They are also to calling for the DCC to scrutinise the price rise and explore the reasons behind it.

East Midlands Labour are encouraging members of the Labour Party, as well as concerned residents of Derbyshire, to sign the petition to prevent the ‘unjust hike from becoming a reality.’

“By signing this petition and encouraging others to do the same, we can send a powerful message to the Tory County Council so they stop and think about the impact their policy will have on families in Derbyshire,” say East Midlands Labour.

The New Mills and Hayfield Labour Party in Derbyshire, say they have already been hearing stories about how many parents have dropped out of school meals from the start of term.

The proposals to increase the cost of school dinners so sharply in a Tory-run county council come as calls mount for free school meals to be extended across the country. In February, the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced that free school meals will be offered to all primary school pupils across London for the 2023/24 academic year.

Jamie Oliver is the latest figure to join in calls for similar scheme to be extended across England.The celebrity chef is a long-standing campaigner for child nutrition and has insisted it was “time to prioritise our children’s health” and for it to be “put above politics.”

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

Image credit: YouTube screen grab

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