“Private companies are pocketing millions of pounds from children’s uneaten free school meals, campaigners reveal today.
Firms which have deals to provide school catering are benefiting from a loophole which allows them to pocket any unspent cash left on pre-loaded cards, according to Citizens UK.
It believes contractors are trousering millions from the arrangement – and called for a crackdown by education chiefs.
The group’s activists calculate some £70million a year lies dormant in youngsters’ free school meal accounts.
Some of the funds are recouped by cash-strapped schools and town halls, and pumped back into the system.
But where catering has been contracted out, the money helps to swell private firms’ coffers, the group claimed.
One year eight pupil said it was “wrong” for companies “to be taking our money without telling us”.
They added: “It’s practically stealing. Imagine all the other things you could afford to buy with all the money that’s being taken away from us.” …”