THE cost of school meals in Hampshire is set to stay at £2 for the sixth consecutive year.

The meal price freeze was approved by Councillor Peter Edgar, the council’s executive member for education, at his latest decision day.

A school capital spending programme was also approved, of more than £237million, which includes provision to enable school kitchen and dining facilities to be upgraded.

This will ensure that increased take-up of school meals can be accommodated after the Government annou-nced an initiative to provide free school meals for all schoolchildren up until the age of two from September.

Cllr Edgar said: “I am mindful that we are living in difficult economic times, so I hope this news is welcomed by parents.

“In my view, these meals represent excellent value for money. The school meal service provides nutritious meals, working closely with schools, pupils and parents to create varied menus that are healthy and tasty.

“It also plays an important role in the development of healthy eating habits among children, which can be key to preventing problems such as obesity in later life.

“It has long been recognised that a child’s diet not only affects their physical health but also impacts on their behaviour, concentration and performance in the classroom.

“Eating together also provides children and young people with a valuable opportunity to further develop their social skills and widen their experiences.”