HC Deb 03 April 2000 vol 347 cc295-6W
Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the local education authorities in which no schools provide hot school meals. [117145]

Jacqui Smith

This information is not collected centrally. Under current education legislation, it is up to local education authorities, and schools with delegated budgets for school meals, to decide on their presentation and content, including whether a meal should be hot. The Government's minimum nutritional standards for school lunches will apply to both hot and cold lunches.

Helen Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate he has made of the number of families eligible to claim free school meals which do not do so. [117144]

Ms Estelle Morris

Information reported by maintained schools in England to the Department for Education and Employment in January 1999 showed that there were 1,417,300 pupils on the schools' register (on the census day) who were known by schools to be eligible for free school meals. Of these, 1,088,800 pupils were reported to have taken a free school meal on the census day.

Further information provided by the Department of Social Security, for November 1999, showed overall that there were an estimated 1,490,000 school age children (5-16 years) in England from 849,000 families in receipt of Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance. No information is available from the Department of Social Security on the number of these children who took their free meals.