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Government Introducing £15 School Meal Vouchers After Food Parcel Scandal

by : Cameron Frew on : 13 Jan 2021 11:55
Government Introducing £15 School Meal Vouchers After Food Parcel ScandalGovernment Introducing £15 School Meal Vouchers After Food Parcel ScandalPA Images

The UK government is reintroducing £15 school meal vouchers following its disastrous food parcel scandal. 

Social media has been flooded with images from parents who’ve received food parcels in lieu of free school meals. One mum wrote: ‘Issued instead of £30 vouchers. I could do more with £30 to be honest. Public funds were charged £30. I’d have bought this for £5.22.’

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Senior Conservatives, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have slammed the parcels as ‘inadequate’ and ‘unacceptable’. Today, January 13, it’s been announced that the £15 voucher scheme will return next week to replace the woeful parcels.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson revealed the news to the Commons Education Select Committee, saying he was ‘absolutely disgusted’ at a photo of a parcel’s contents.

The mother behind the photo, who’s remained anonymous, told BBC News: ‘As I unpacked that food parcel… and looked at the contents, it felt very sad and depressing.’

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Williamson said ‘this sort of behaviour is just not right [and] will not be tolerated’, adding that the government will ‘support any school that needs to take action,’ and ‘name and shame those that are not delivering against the standards’ set by the Department for Education.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson Education Secretary Gavin Williamson PA Images

He added: ‘As a dad myself, I thought… how could a family in receipt of that really be expected to deliver five nutritious meals as is required? It’s just not acceptable.’

The mother added: ‘One of my children came in and saw me laying this out on the floor, and I said I was going to picture it because it didn’t look like a lot. I could see the child’s realisation that this is what I’ve been given to eat for a week and the sense of sadness. Where has the rest of the food gone? This is meant to be a week’s food. Why is it so mean?’

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Marcus Rashford, who’s campaigned widely on the issue of free school meals and forced the government into a number of U-turns, confirmed he’d spoke to the PM about the parcel scandal.

On Twitter, he wrote: ‘He has assured me that he is committed to correcting the issue with the food hampers and that a full review of the supply chain is taking place. He agrees that images of hampers being shared on Twitter are unacceptable.’

A spokesperson for Chartwells, one of the catering companies behind the meals, said: ‘In our efforts to provide thousands of food parcels a week at extremely short notice we are very sorry the quantity has fallen short in this instance.’

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Children’s Minister Vicky Ford also said she’d she met the managing director of Chartwells ‘and he has assured me they have taken immediate action to stop further deliveries of poor-quality parcels’.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Boris Johnson, Free school meals, marcus rashford, Now, UK

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BBC News
  1. BBC News

    Free school meals: Mother's 'sadness' at 'mean' food parcel