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Parents could be forced to pay for packed lunches

A so called ‘sandwich tax’ has been proposed by a Welsh council


The schemecould force parents to pay extra if they send their children into school with a packed lunch. 

CaerphillyCouncil, in South Wales, is proposing to charge every primary school in the borough around £2,200 a year for the clear-up and disposal of waste from pupils eating their own sandwiches. 

The feewould be based on sandwich take up at each school and, if schools cannot pay their share, it could be passed onto parents according to Plaid Cymru’sCaerphilly assembly candidate Lindsay Whittle. 

The council has said head teachers are being consulted about the scheme but there is ‘no intention’ that any financial impact would be passed onto parents. 

However, in council papers, officers admitted that the charge on schools may lead to pupils “losing the option of bringing sandwich meals to school”. 

An impact assessment report suggested: “Schools may choose to make their own arrangements for setting out and clearing away sandwich places, in which case the catering service will be able to reduce staffing hours and still realise the saving identified. 

“This proposal could lead to pupils losing the option of bringing sandwiches meals to school and have the potential to increase school lunch take-up.” 

The news comes less than a month after a school was forced to apologise for telling pupils they would be given bread and butter if they forgot their lunch money. 

Alban Church of England Academy in Bedfordshire had to abandon the new policy aimed at parents who did not pay for dinners or provide a packed lunch. 

In a letter sent out to parents, the school said the catering firm providing school meals has a “strict ‘no debt’ policy and as such, it is the school that has to fund the cost of a meal” which the school then had to try and recoup. 

The letter went on to say: “From [February 1st], if a pupil comes to school without either a packed lunch or dinner money, the office staff will phone home and ask for packed lunch or the money for a lunch to be dropped into school. 

“If the parent/carer cannot make it into school then the child will be provided with a drink and bread and butter only.” 

Following concerns from mums and dads, the school retracted the policy in a letter, signed by head teacher Sue Lourensz, posted for parents on its website. 

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