HC Deb 05 August 1976 vol 916 cc1003-4W
Mr. Nicholas Winterton

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many chilrren attended schools in Cheshire during the last school year commencing September 1975; what proportion of those attending took school lunches; what proportion of those taking school lunches have free meals; and how these figures compare with those for each of the last three years.

Miss Margaret Jackson

Statistics relating to school attendance and the take-up of school meals in Cheshire are as follows:

Year Pupils in attendance Percentage of pupils in attendance taking school dinners Percentage of pupils taking dinners who receive them free of charge
1975 162,461 69.7 11.6
1974 157,184 70.1 10.7
1973 194,247 67.7 11.9
1972 185,859 66.1 13.3


1. Because of local government reorganisation the figures for years before 1974 are not directly comparable with those for later years.

2. The figures of pupils in attendance relate to a day in October on which the school meals census for the year in question was taken.

Mr. John Page

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what would be the savings in costs if smaller school meals were served with meat being provided only twice a week and, separately, with puddings cut out altogether.

Mr. Gerry Fowler

The cost of food in a school dinner at present represents on average about 13p, or a little under one-third of the total cost; but it is not possible to estimate the savings which could be obtained by reducing the size or food content because of the many variable factors involved. It is unlikely that such a meal would meet the statutory regulations which require that it should be suitable in all respects as the pupil's main meal of the day.