Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Vote Needed on Price Rise' Councillor Says School Dinner Cost Increase Was Not Agreed

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Vote Needed on Price Rise' Councillor Says School Dinner Cost Increase Was Not Agreed

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES CAIN Local democracy reporter james.cain@reachplc.com @JIMMYMCAIN

A VOTE has been demanded on a council's decision to raise the price of school dinners.

Earlier this month, Middlesbrough Council announced that the price of meals would be going up for the first time since 2009.

The price rise will see the cost in primary schools rise by 10p from PS1.90 to PS2, starting in September next year.

Secondary school meals will also see a price hike - from PS2 to PS2.20.

With the average school year taking place over 38 weeks, a family with two children at secondary school would see the cost of one year's school meals go from PS760 to PS836 - an extra PS76 each year.

Middlesbrough Council says the decision was effectively made by councillors when they voted to approve savings as set out in the 2018/19 budget in March.

But Cllr Jon Rathmell, independent councillor for Nunthorpe, disagrees.

He says no reference to an increase in school meal prices appeared in the budget while other price increases, in areas such as car parking charges, were explicitly referred to.

The proposal councillors were asked to approve on car parking specifically referred to "increase income from short and long-stay car parks, reviewing pricing and capacity".

But the initiative councillors were asked to consider on school meals did not explicitly mention a change in prices.

is The initiative agreed was to "review the school meals service to improve its efficiency and commerciality, without compromising the quality of the offer to children and parents".

Cllr Rathmell said: "The decision to raise the price of school meals was not made by the full council.

"The budget that the council voted on only mentioned a review looking at improving efficiency and commerciality of school meals. …

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