HC Deb 26 April 1951 vol 487 cc91-3W
74. Mr. Messer

asked the Minister of Education whether he is now in a position to make any announcement about the supply of meals from school kitchens for the benefit of old people.

Mr. Tomlinson

I sympathise with the object which my hon. Friend has in view and have given this matter full consideration. I am not aware of any powers under which a local education authority could provide meals for a section of the populace who are not concerned in any way with an educational institution for which that authority has specific or implied powers. If, however, the local authority are satisfied that they could properly make meals available for a voluntary organisation or other competent committee to distribute to old people and the meals can be spared from a school kitchen, having regard to all the circumstances I should not feel called upon to offer any observations provided that the following conditions to safeguard the School Meals Service were strictly complied with:

  1. (a) payment received for the meals must cover the gross cost of producing them, including a reasonable sum for depreciation of plant and equipment, and no net charge in respect of these meals must be included in the authority's school meals account;
  2. (b) meals can be supplied only on days when the kitchen is open for the production of school meals and the production of the meals for old people on such days must not interfere in any way with the quality of the service provided for school children; and
  3. (c) the voluntary organisation or other committee must take full responsibility for supplying containers for the old people's meals, transporting them from the kitchen and returning the containers to be used another day.

Mr. Llewellyn

asked the Minister of Education what effect the increase on the cost of school meals, from 6d. to 7d., has had on attendance at meals since 1st April, 1951, in Glamorgan; and whether he will publish relevant statistics for Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and Merthyr, respectively.

Mr. Tomlinson

No statistics are available at present. I have asked all local education authorities for a return by the end of May showing the numbers having school dinners on the earliest convenient date in that month.