School dinners in Nottinghamshire set to rise by 40p 'due to increased costs'
"This increase should have been properly looked at again to see how we could better help residents."
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The cost of school meals in Nottinghamshire is set to rise by 40p, the county council has announced.
The daily price the authority charges schools for the meals is set to increase from £2.55 to £2.95 each.
Conservative-run Nottinghamshire County Council says it’s been forced to make the hike due to rising costs of food, energy and staffing.
It will be down to individual schools to determine whether to pass the cost increases on to families. Free school meals for children who qualify will not be affected.
The council’s Labour group and Independent Alliance attempted to ‘call in’ the decision last month – meaning it would be subject to further debate – claiming there had been errors with the decision-making.
However, both challenges are now confirmed to have failed.
Cllr Francis Purdue-Horan (Ind) said: “We are obviously disappointed that the call in to re-examine options has been rejected.
“This increase should have been properly looked at again to see how we could better help residents.”
Opposition groups said there hadn’t been enough advance notice of the rise and that it had been planned without a consultation, There was also concern about whether it would harm the poorest families most.
A report will go before the council’s Overview Committee on November 23 rejecting claims that the council had broken any decision-making rules.
It says there is no legal requirement to hold consultations – although there were informal discussions with schools – and the correct procedures were followed.
The report says: “The duty sits with schools to provide school meals, not the council. Schools are at liberty to choose how they provide school meals and how much they charge parents who are not in receipt of free school meals, and could choose not to pass the costs on to parents in full or in part.”
Cllr John Cottee, Nottinghamshire County Council’s cabinet member for communities, said: "The council’s decision-making and scrutiny processes have been followed entirely correctly in relation to this decision, meaning it can now be implemented.
"We gave very careful consideration to this matter before reaching a decision, but in light of the recent spike in inflation it was necessary to balance the rising cost of making and delivering a school meal against our absolute commitment to ensuring that Nottinghamshire children continue to receive a high-quality, nutritious school meal."
Nottinghamshire County Council has not announced a date for the price rise, but will send a letter to schools to confirm when the increase will take effect.