UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK




Sponsorship Comms Index Communications Forum Campaigns News Scotland inUNISON Press Releases


Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns


Date: 4 January 2006

Scottish in-house provision means cheaper, healthier school meals

A survey of school meals across the UK has found that Scottish schools provide cheaper school meals than elsewhere in the UK, subsidise the cost of school meals and have signed up to the Scottish 'Hungry for Success' initiative.

Whilst the overall UK price of a school meal has increased by around 13% since the last survey in 2001, Scottish authorities have mostly kept rises to single figures (around 3 - 8%). Even where increases have been higher (eg in Shetland Primary schools) the costs are still below the average prices elsewhere in the UK.

Over half Scottish primary schools surveyed and nearly two-thirds of secondaries charge less than the UK average (£1.48 in primary; £1.59 in secondary). All Scottish councils surveyed said that they subsidised the cost of schools meals to a greater or lesser extent, and almost all surveyed provided 90% or more of the school meals via in-house service, exceptions almost always being when PPP/PFI contracts had included a catering contract.

One Scottish Council (Falkirk) provides free school meals to its special schools. UNISON is concerned that disadvantaged families who need school meals the most could be priced out, if the trend to outsourcing school meals in PFI schools continues.

Carol Judge, UNISON's Scottish Organiser for Local Government, said: "These figures show the value of good quality in-house provision. Directly employed staff have the motivation and the flexibility to take up healthy innovations, and they deliver better value than more privatised services elsewhere.

"We are however concerned that the increasing reliance on PPP as the vehicle for refurbishing schools threatens to increase costs to the parent. We call on the Executive to introduce a genuine level playing field for councils - stop subsidising PFI and increase the subsidy on school meals until we can introduce free meals in schools across Scotland.

"It is well documented that healthy food increases concentration and learning ability. UNISON wants to see free meals for all Scottish school children so that all children have the same level playing field."


Notes for editors: The survey School meals - a UNISON report, is the third report prepared for UNISON by the Labour Research Department who surveyed local education authorities across the UK. 21 Scottish authorities replied - 65% of the total. The full report is available from Chris Bartter (below)

For Further Information Please Contact: Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)