Merthyr Tydfil school meal prices to remain unchanged for next year, with free meals for primary pupils from April 2024
School meal prices in Merthyr Tydfil will remain the same over the next year.
A report approved by cabinet on Wednesday, July 12, recommended freezing prices from September 2023, with school meals set to be free for all primary pupils in Wales from April 2024.
It said that due to the 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 proposed that the current price freeze continue.
The prices were most recently increased in April 2019 by 20p, to £2.30 in primary schools and £2.70 in secondary schools.
No price increase was considered in 2020-21 because of the coronavirus pandemic and the interruption to the service. Prices were also frozen in 2021-22 and 2022-23 due to reduced demand and take-up of meals alongside the cost-of-living crisis, the cabinet report said.
It said the charge for primary school meals ranks as the joint third lowest meal price in Wales, and the charge for secondary school meals was the sixth highest.
The report said that with the rollout of free school meals for primary school pupils from April 2024, it is reasonable any review should only consider secondary school prices.
Universal free school meals for primary schools have been rolled out across Wales in phases since September 2022.
The report said the council is on track to meet the roll-out dates and has
received Welsh Government grant funding of £1.1m to upgrade kitchen facilities.
Councillor David Hughes said the Welsh Government won’t be funding free school meals over the summer and he wishes it would change its mind.
But Councillor Michelle Jones, cabinet member for education, said there is a food and fun programme where children will be fed and safeguarding facilities will be in place.
Council leader Geraint Thomas said: “It’s great that we have been able to freeze the price of school meals for next year during this cost-of-living crisis that we are going through because everybody is suffering.”
By BBC LDRS
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