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LACA to host Great School Lunch event at House of Commons

16th Apr 2024 - 07:00
LACA will once again host a Parliamentary reception at the House of Commons on 18th April to showcase great school food and highlight the financial challenges the industry is facing.

LACA, the school food people, are delighted to be serving school lunches again in Westminster as this provides a fantastic opportunity to spend quality time with MP’s and Government ministers. The event has been made possible thanks to the industry’s biggest supporters Sharon Hodgson MP, Diana Johnson MP and Andrew Gwynne MP.

According to a LACA survey, 91% of respondents are experiencing food shortages, with over 60% saying that this has not changed since May 2022. Food prices have risen 30% since May, with some LACA members experiencing 50% price increases.

For some children, lunch is the only hot meal they will eat in a day. LACA believes the 2.9% funding increase for UIFSM is ‘inadequate and insufficient’.

A predicted average meal price of £2.73 from April 2024 will represent a 20% increase since May 2022, yet funding only provides £2.53 per child across most of England (with Wales being £3.20, London being £3.00 and Scotland £3.33). Schools and parents are having to make up the shortfall to ensure that meals can be provided to all pupils.

LACA are calling for:

  1. More funding to deal with the increased cost of food prices and of staff, the current situation is unsustainable, many caterers, particularly smaller and medium sized companies will find it difficult to continue operating, threatening thousands of jobs. LACA are calling for a minimum FSM value in England of £3.00 per meal (index linked)
  2. An extension of FSMs for all children whose parents are entitled to Universal Credit
  3. For funding for school meals to be ringfenced to ensure funding follows the child. The budget is currently issued to schools who do not always pass the full amount to the caterer to provide school meals.

Anita Brown, chair of LACA, commented: “With the cost-of-living crisis hitting vulnerable families the most, the provision of a healthy school lunch has never been more important. It is imperative that no child falls through the cracks and goes hungry – by not being entitled to a free school meal, but unable to afford a paid lunch.

“Thank you to everyone who has made this event happen. Without our supporters and fantastic suppliers this event would not have been possible. We would like to take the time to thank all LACA members who have given up their time to champion this event.”

At the reception we will be serving great food thanks to Juniper Ventures. The food will be served by the current and past SCOTY winners. Equipment has been provided by Harfield, Moffat and BGL Rieber. All guests will be given a goody bag at the event with information about the day and also treats supplied by Sefton Council.


Written by
Edward Waddell