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FOI release

Spending on the school food plan

A breakdown of Department for Education spending on the creation of the school food plan.



  • Date requested: 30 July 2013
  • Date responded: 29 August 2013


How much taxpayers’ money has been given to the school food plan?


Costs have amounted to £212,823.65 (including VAT). This consists of:

  • funding for Leon Restaurants to release Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent to undertake the school food review and write the school food plan (£56,157.21). Funding covered costs for travelling to schools and to events, as well as administrative costs - from start to finish the review lasted 1 year
  • research undertaken by the Medical Research Council (£19,980.00)
  • the costs of 7 regional events to gather evidence from school food professionals, teachers, pupils, parents, governors and others with an interest in school food, as well as other communication costs (£136,686.44)

DfE is fortunate to have had such credible experts working on this important project. This contract has represented excellent value for money. The reviewers have put in many days of their own time beyond our contract with Leon, bearing the cost of those days - including travel - themselves. They have also raised additional funds from charitable trusts to enable additional research and promotional activity. This is evident in the high quality of the report and its support from the sector and across government.

As the plan sets out in its summary, it aims to secure further value for money by reducing both the current £140 million per annum public sector subsidy to school meals and the cost of diet-related illness (currently standing at £10 billion per annum).

The government is providing £16.1 million over 2 years to implement the school food plan actions. This predominantly consists of:

  • £11.8 million to fund organisations that will increase school meal take up in schools where it is lowest
  • £3.15 million to help schools with over 40% of pupils eligible for free school meals to set up self-sustaining breakfast clubs

A further £1.15 million has been allocated to implement other aspects of the plan, including:

  • measuring the progress of the plan
  • joint-funding the London flagship borough pilots
  • supporting the implementation of the non-government actions