Edenred, the company at the centre of last year’s free school meal voucher fiasco has been awarded with a new government contract worth £190 million.
On top of existing contracts worth £425 million.
Following the furore last year around so many school children going hungry, the government’s National Audit Office looked into the problems. They then reported that the French company Edenred’s UK arm did not have the financial standing normally required for the scale of the contract. Which does bring the awarding of a further £190 million contract into question.
The debacle last year left school children without food during lockdown and ‘others’ to volunteer to fill the gaps by providing alternative meals.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has called the government’s decision to award a further multi hundred million contract to the company into question. As have many others of all political persuasions.
The decision was taken by the education secretary Gavin Williamson and his department. Why the education secretary and his department are taking such decisions is surely another question. What schools in England require from foodservice providers requires specialist knowledge and experience in foodservice and procurement. The decision taken clearly shows they do not have such resources available to them.
Maybe the call on the Prime Minister to appoint a Minister for Hospitality needs to be made again.
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