No-deal Brexit ‘won’t water down school food standards’ – Williamson

free school meals

The government’s standards for food served in England’s schools won’t be watered-down in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Gavin Williamson has insisted.

The education secretary told MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon that he will not suspend or weaken the rules around how schools feed their pupils, despite the threat of food shortages under a no-deal scenario.

Schools across the country have a statutory duty to meet the government’s school food standards, including what can be served.

But the threat of a disorderly exit from the European Union has prompted concerns that school suppliers will be affected.

In July, the government warned schools that they may have to change their lunch menus if Britain leaves the EU without a deal, and urged them to seek reassurance that their suppliers will still be able to “meet nutritional standards and to accommodate special dietary needs and allergens” when introducing substitutes.

During today’s education questions session, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner demanded that Williamson publish his department’s no-deal impact assessments and contingency plans and details of the amount spent by the DfE on no-deal preparation.

She also asked for a “clear guarantee” that no-deal plans “will not include suspending or weakening food standards in our schools”.

“I can give her that assurance, yes,” replied Williamson, though he did not respond to her questions about no-deal documents.

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