Posted: Thu 6th Jul 2023

Merthyr school meals price freeze at £2.70 in secondary schools

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jul 6th, 2023

School meal prices in Merthyr Tydfil are set to remain the same as the council prepares for roll out of free school meals for primary school children. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A report to cabinet on Wednesday, July 12 recommends it approves freezing school meal prices in Merthyr Tydfil from September 2023 with primary school meals set to be free from April 2024. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It said that due to the very recent recovery of school meal sales in secondary schools to pre-pandemic levels and considering the cost-of-living crisis as well as the fact the service budget delivered a surplus in 2022/23, it is proposed that the current price freeze continue from September 2023. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The prices of school meals is usually set in either April or September each year and they were most recently increased in April 2019 by 20p across all schools. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

This set prices at £2.30 in primary schools and £2.70 in secondary schools. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

No price increase was considered during the financial year 2020/2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic and the interruption to the service. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Prices were frozen during financial years 2021/2022 and 2022/2023 due to the impact post pandemic with reduced demand and take-up of meals alongside the cost-of-living crisis, the cabinet report said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report said that of the eighteen councils across Wales responding to thee School Meals Prices Survey, ten have frozen prices across both primary and secondary schools for 2023/24.
It said the council’s current charge for primary school meals of £2.30 ranks as the joint third lowest meal price together with Caerphilly and Torfaen and only Bridgend and Anglesey have lower prices at £2.20. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The council’s current charge for secondary school meals of £2.70 ranks as the sixth highest charge of authorities participating in the survey. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The difference between the price of primary and secondary meals in Merthyr Tydfil of 40p is the joint second highest across Wales with the average price difference across Welsh councils being around 20p to 30p. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report said that with the roll out of free school meals for primary school pupils from April 2024, it is reasonable that any review of school meal prices
during this academic year period should only consider secondary school prices. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Universal free school meals for primary schools have been rolled-out across Wales in phases since September 2022 and from April 2024 onwards, all primary school meals will be provided free of charge to pupils. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report said that the council is on track to meet the roll-out dates and has received Welsh Government grant funding of £1.1 million to upgrade kitchen facilities including upgrading ovens, fridges and freezers, extractor fan canopies, increased electrical capacity, new flooring, plates, utensils, and other light equipment. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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