THE costs of school meals in Newport are expected to rise by 5p for the coming academic year.

From September 1, primary and secondary meals could cost £2.15 and £2.40 respectively if approved by the council.

Both prices would be cheaper than the Welsh average, which is £2.30 for primary schools and £2.44 in secondaries.

The proposals would represent a 13 per cent increase for primaries, and a six per cent rise in secondaries, from prices in 2010.

School meals costs for adults, which have not increased since 2011, could also rise from £3 to £3.30.

City schools have been provided meals by Chartwells since 2011, when the catering firm partnered with Newport City Council in an initial six-year deal worth £21 million.

The contract was due to expire last March but was renewed until March 2020.

The only schools to opt out of the partnership and seek their own contractors were Caerleon Comprehensive School and Newport High School.

A council report says: “Costs of providing a school meals service has increased as labour costs are a predominant part of the costs of provision, and it is accepted that these are increasing with the range of staffing involved being at minimum wage levels.”

According to the council cuts of £21,000 could be made to primary schools in the 2018/19 financial year if the price rise is rejected.

Due the presence of cafeterias, the council say they are unable to estimate the potential financial impact on secondary schools.

The same report also warns that an increase in the school meals price “could be seen to adversely affect children and families” and could result in a reduced meal uptake across the city.

But it adds: “The contractor will be keen however to reverse this and therefore there should be a greater focus on the quality of provision to maintain custom and sales.”

The proposals will be considered by Councillor Gail Giles, cabinet member for education and skills, next week.