Published: 19:12, 13 January 2021
| Updated: 19:23, 13 January 2021
The government will issue food vouchers instead of "disgraceful" free school meal packages after a public outcry.
From January 18, parents across Kent will receive the vouchers following confirmation from Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.
It follows a huge amount of outrage on social media at the paltry offerings, which allegedly cost £15 per child for two weeks of supplies.
One parcel aimed at feeding two children for 10 days went viral, as it only contained a loaf of bread, three yoghurts, a can of beans, some fruit and veg, a portion of dried pasta and cheese singles.
Among the irregular deliveries nationwide were out-of-date rolls and soup powder wrapped in bank coin bags.
A conversation between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and footballer-cum-campaigner Marcus Rashford followed.
After the phone call, the PM called the food boxes "disgraceful" and "an insult to the families that have received them" having branded them as "unacceptable" yesterday.
The U-turn to weekly £15 food vouchers was announced during a Commons Education Select Committee today by Mr Williamson.
How parents of the 1.3million eligible children claim their voucher will be laid out in an email from supplier Edenred tomorrow.
With many claiming they could get much more out of the money, this will be welcome news to parents.
In the wake of the scandal, Mr Johnson assured MPs that the contractor - run by Compass Group UK & Ireland - had been "hauled over the coals".
He said: "You are right to be obviously outraged by the images that we have seen.
"And the companies in question - or certainly one of the most notorious pictures, the company responsible for that, and others - have been hauled over the coals and asked to explain how this has happened.
"They have apologised and they have reimbursed the schools concerned and pledged not to do it again.
"I should stress that the images did not reflect the actual government guidance which is for about double the quantity of food for lunch packs for five days that you have seen, if not more."