Barnet Labour hails Mayor of London’s “significant progress” on Kosher school meals funding

Assembly member Anne Clarke celebrates contingency fund announcement but says “there is still some way to go” reports David Floyd

Sadiq Khan speaking to children on a visit to a primary school on Monday 20th February (credit Noah Vickers/LDRS)
Sadiq Khan speaking to children on a visit to a primary school on Monday 20th February (credit Noah Vickers/LDRS)

Barnet Labour has described new funding from the Mayor of London as “significant progress” in ensuring state Jewish primary schools in the borough can provide Kosher catering in the next academic year.

Sadiq Khan last week announced a £5million contingency fund for “extraordinary costs associated with the delivery” of free school meals for pupils in years 3-6, alongside the £130million of funding announced in February. The additional funding follows the publication of an Equalities Impact Statement. 

The mayor said: “It is truly shocking that so many families across the capital are struggling to feed themselves as they deal with the escalating cost-of-living crisis. It simply cannot be right that in a city as prosperous as ours around one in six parents are going without essentials to get by. I’m determined to do all I can to help and know from personal experience what a lifeline free school meals can be.”

The news comes after Kosher Kitchen, a specialist supplier of meals to Barnet’s Jewish schools, went out of business in early-May and Barnet Council resisted calls from campaigners to save it. 

However, Barnet Labour says that councillors, including London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden and Cricklewood councillor, Anne Clarke, have been in “intense discussions” with City Hall on the issue. 

She said: “We’ve been working with the Mayor’s office to ensure there is understanding that Kosher catering is significantly more expensive. We welcome the Equality Impact Assessment which we believe will enable additional funding for Kosher meals, and we are waiting for confirmation.

“There is still some way to go to secure a Kosher catering provider for all our state Jewish schools and we will continue to advocate for and work with our Jewish schools.

“I do want to thank the Jewish schools and the Jewish Communal Organisations, including the London Jewish Forum, who have been involved in cross-party discussions and in liaising with the GLA, for their leadership, and work on this issue.”

Update: (18th July):

Following the publication of this report, Barnet Post was contacted by Barnet Conservative group who felt Labour’s statement put a “party political spin” on the issue and failed to reflect local cross-party work to resolve the problem. A statement from Conservative councillor Eva Greenspan is published here.

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