Many of you will have seen reports on social media recently showing sub-standard free school meals packages being distributed to families across the country. The Government immediately started investigating and have demanded urgent answers from the suppliers.
The images circulated on social media yesterday were completely unacceptable and do not reflect the high standard of free school meals I know the Government expects to be sent to children.
Within hours of the images appearing, Ministers met with the supplier in question and made clear in no uncertain terms that their parcel was not good enough. They have rightly apologised and assured the Government that immediate action has been taken, and there will be no further deliveries of poor quality parcels.
The excellent children's Minister, Vicky Ford, posted on Twitter:
'I will be looking into this urgently - food parcels should cover all lunchtime meals & be nutritious - we’ve increased funding for parcels & will support local vouchers - national voucher also rolling out ASAP, working night & day on this.'
With the Department for Education also commenting:
'We are looking into this. We have clear guidelines and standards for food parcels, which we expect to be followed. Parcels should be nutritious and contain a varied range of food.'
The Government has publicly stated that they will continue to demand that caterers urgently improve the quality of lunches they provide to eligible children – this will make sure every one of them receives a healthy, nutritious lunch that will give them the fuel they need to focus on learning at home.
Ending child poverty, and improving child nutrition, is something I care deeply about. I'm pleased the Government acted swiftly on this once it was made aware of the situation, unscrupulous companies shouldn't be attempting to cut corners in a service so vital to so many vulnerable people.