Rising costs could mean smaller lunches for Wrexham pupils

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Rising food costs could mean smaller lunches for schoolchildren.

Wrexham Council is being forced to tighten up spending on school meals as it faces a predicted £270,000 shortfall.

Higher food costs and an increase in the number of parents providing their children with packed lunches have resulted in the overspend on school catering.

To plug the deficit the council is now planning to make savings in school kitchens across the county borough.

Portion sizes are just one of the areas earmarked for “efficiencies” along with staff hours, food supply orders and stock/waste control.

The local authority is also planning to promote the school catering service to increase income.

The figures were revealed in a copy of the authority’s latest budget monitoring and control report.

The report, written by head of finance Mark Owen, says: “Income from pupils paying for school meals has reduced by £170,000, which is a reflection of the current economic climate where some are choosing the cheaper option of packed lunches.”

About £100,000 of the overspend went on food itself which, Mr Owen said, was partly due to rising costs.

Steve Bayley, head of assets and economic development, said: “The projected overspend in school catering relates to two main factors: increases in the cost of raw materials and a reduction in the expected income from school meals.

“The efficiencies referred to in the report relate to the need to tighten up on the amount spent on food supplies, reduce waste and match staff hours to the service needs.

“The priority of the service must, however, always be to provide pupils with healthy and nutritional meal choices.”

See full story in the Leader

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