PLANS for a 10p increase in the cost of school meals in Ceredigion will go ahead despite concerns that it could put parents off and see a loss of income for the authority.
A meeting of the full council agreed to back the 10p increase for school meals from September with members of the Cabinet rejecting a recommendation from the Thriving Communities Scrutiny Committee to scrap the increase after it emerged that an earlier 5p increase had led to the council missing out on income with the number of pupils having school meals dropping.
Cllr Euros Davies (pictured), the chair of the scrutiny committee, said members had been concerned by the drop in the number of pupils having school meals following the earlier increase and thought that would be repeated if the authority went ahead with the greater price rise.
In a report to the Cabinet, he said: “Concerns were raised in relation to the take-up of free school meals and that the price increase agreed of 10p per meal for September 2017 may result in the decrease in school meals purchased as occurred at the last price increase of 5p per meal in September 2016 which resulted in a reduction in income of over £50,000 compared with April 2016 figures. Officers noted that the next figures due in April 2017 may show an increase on September figures.”
Despite the recommendation from the scrutiny committee, council leader Ellen ap Gwynn said the full council had taken the decision to increase the cost of school meals in September, but asked officers in the council to monitor the situation in terms of the price increase and how it affects take-up of school meals.