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Jewish pupils eating just a bagel for lunch amid kosher crisis, Parliament told

(Correction: Amending par 9 to remove reference to Signature Dining who continue to trade)

Some Jewish children are surviving on just a bagel for lunch due to school meal funding problems, the Government’s antisemitism adviser told Parliament.

News emerged this week that a second kosher caterer has withdrawn its services from 18 Jewish schools in London due to spiralling costs.

As hundreds of pupils from deprived areas go without hot meals, bakeries stepped in to provide them with lunchtime bagels.

Independent peer Lord Mann told peers in Westminster: “There’s currently some Jewish children having to survive, due to the funding formula, on a bagel every dinner time.

“Is that acceptable? And if not, which minister is going to sort it out?”

Lord Mann, former Labour MP and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism for 15 years, took up the role as a Government adviser in 2019.

Health minister Lord Markham responded: “I think and hope that every child would have something more nutritious and more healthy than just a bagel.

“It is something that I will happily discuss. I’m not familiar with that particular case but it is something that I will happily take up.”

London Kosher Caterers (LKC) stepped in to cook lunch for the 18 schools earlier this year.

However, they found the costs of delivering kosher meals far outstripped the funding the schools had from Government.

Miriam Kaye, headteacher at Mathilda-Marks Kennedy Primary school, told Jewish News that LKC was unable to provide a hot meal for less than £5.50 per child – more than £2 more than the school receives from the Government per pupil.