Parents will have to pay up to 25% more for their children’s school dinners, a survey has found.
Consumer watchdog Which? discovered the price is rising in two-thirds of schools across the country this year – while the quality of food could plummet.
Parents would rather give their children packed lunches as they believe them to be cheaper and their children do not like school dinners, according to the research. Schools in Poole are the most expensive in the country at an average of £2.50.
But Doncaster Council has increased prices by 17% to between £1.70 and £2 a meal while Lewisham has upped theirs by 14%, from £1.40 to £1.60.
Bolton saw the biggest increase at 25%, although its prices still remain the lowest in the country at £1.25.
It is estimated that 55% of students would need to take school meals in order to keep costs down.
But the research just 45% of pupils in England have them. Richard Lloyd of Which? said yesterday: “It will come as an unwelcome surprise to hard-pressed families to see some local authorities increasing prices well above inflation.
“Meals in most areas are still a relatively low-cost and low-hassle way to provide a decent lunch for your kids.
“But if schools cannot find ways to protect the extra funding that has gone to school meals and increase the numbers taking them, there’s a real risk of even more hikes or a drop in standards, undoing progress made in the past five years.”