19th June 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LABOUR CALLS FOR PARENTAL CHOICE IN SCHOOL DINNERS
Labour Councillors in Cardiff are calling on the Liberal Democrat Executive to give parents more say in what their children eat in school. A notice of motion submitted by Labour Deputy Leader and mum of three Councillor Sophie Howe has called for a pre-ordering system to be set up so that parents can order what their children will be eating for their dinner and utilise on-line payment methods or direct debit.
The call for parents to have a say in what their children are eating in school comes in light of nationwide concerns about children's eating habits and a City wide campaign led by the Labour Group to force the Liberal Democrat Administration to put more money into school dinners. Labour Councillors have previously revealed that the Administration will not put any of the increased cost to parents for school meals into the meal itself and that Cardiff spends one of the lowest amounts on school dinners in Wales.
Speaking about the motion Councillor Sophie Howe said:
"Parents want to know exactly what their children are eating in school and want to be able to operate the same control over their eating habits in school as they do at home. As a mum of a six year old in school I find it ridiculous that my son gets to choose for himself whether he has a cake or an apple for dessert. I want to be able to ensure that he is having a balanced meal in school as I do at home and this is the same for parents across the City."
Councillor Jonathan Austin who is seconding the motion said:
"The Council need to bring themselves into the 21st Century and realise that parents are concerned about what their kids eat and want to exercise some control over it. The fact that school dinner money is still only collected by cash or cheque weekly also shows that the Council are lining in the dark ages and busy parents would welcome an easier way to pay for meals and other school related items such as uniform or school trips."
Notes to Editors
The following notice of motion will be debated by the Council on Thursday 22nd June.
The Council believes that the Executive should address parents concerns about what their children are eating at school be encouraging parental choice in school meals for primary school children.
This council therefore instructs the Executive to bring forward proposals by December 2006 to:
- Set up an on-line ordering and payment system for school dinners
- Consider other methods for pre-ordering which can be used for parents who do not have access to the internet
- Consider how such a system could be used to enhance payment options for parents and to promote the sale of school dinner packages such as sandwich packs for after school clubs.
- To establish direct debit facilities for regular school based payments, meals, music, etc.
- Consider how this can be funded without impacting on the cost of the school meal for parents or the amount spent on ingredients
Proposed by Councillor Sophie Howe
Seconded by Councillor Jonathan Austin