Firm to be investigated over £30 school meals hamper that can be bought for £5

The Government has promised to investigate the free school meal parcels sent to families after they were called ‘woefully inadequate’.

Children’s minister Vicky Ford said she would be ‘urgently’ look into the matter after complaints the amount of food provided has been far too small.

Although entitled to a box of food worth £30, one mum valued the contents of her parcel at no more than £5.22 if bought from Asda.

She was given two jacket potatoes, a can of beans, eight single cheese slices, a loaf of bread, two carrots, three apples, two Soreen Malt Lunchbox Loaves, three Frubes, some pasta and one tomato.

The mum wrote alongside the image: ‘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. The private company who have the free school meals contract made a good profit here.’

The food parcels have been brought in to replace £30 vouchers given to parents to spend in supermarkets as schools close for remote learning.

Footballer Marcus Rashford, who has been campaigning for free school meals for children over the holidays, tweeted another picture and wrote: ‘Three days of food for one family… Just not good enough.

‘Then imagine we expect the children to engage in learning from home.

‘Not to mention the parents who, at times, have to teach them who probably haven’t eaten at all so their children can… We MUST do better.’

The Department for Education wrote on Twitter: ‘We have clear guidelines and standards for food parcels, which we expect to be followed.

‘Parcels should be nutritious and contain a varied range of food.’

Chartwells, the company which she said provided the parcel, responded to say it would investigate.

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