The education secretary has said the voucher scheme will return next week, amid the food parcel scandal (Picture: SWNS)
The education secretary has said parents will be able to receive vouchers instead of food parcels from next week.
Gavin Williamson told the education committee in the House of Commons the £15 voucher scheme will return next week.
It comes after the Government was heavily criticised yesterday after ‘woefully inadequate’ free school meal hampers were given to impoverished families while children are staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
The U-turn will give parents £15 vouchers which will be used in supermarkets to buy a week’s worth of food for their child.
Mr Williamson told the education select committee this morning: ‘As a dad myself, I thought, “How could a family in receipt of that really be expected to deliver five nutritious meals as is required?” It’s just not acceptable.’
He said it had been made clear to Chartwells, the company that provided the pictured parcel, as well as the entire education food sector that such behaviour ‘will not be tolerated’.
‘We will not live with that,’ he added.
‘There are clear standards that are set there that they need to deliver against and if they do not deliver against them, action will have to be taken.’
Education secretary Gavin Williamson speaking in the Commons (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)
He said the Government would ‘name and shame’ companies not delivering high standards.
Schools will also have the option to continue using local services.
But the voucher scheme, run by company Edenred, has previously seen schools struggle to distribute the vouchers.
It comes as footballer Marcus Rashford, who successfully lobbied the Government to continue providing free school meals during the holidays, tweeted this morning that he’d had a ‘good conversation with the Prime Minister’ about the situation.
‘He has assured me that he is committed to correcting the issue with the food hampers and that a full review of the supply chain is taking place,’ he said.
Children’s minister Vicky Ford also said yesterday she would ‘urgently’ investigate the matter.
Chartwells, which provided some of the food parcels, apologised yesterday that the ‘quantity has fallen short in this instance’ and added any costs will be refunded of parcels which have ‘not met usual high standards’.
The company said from Monday the extra £3.50 of funding will be included in any food parcels.
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