Food parcels provided for children learning at home have been branded ‘inadequate’.

But a catering firm has responded to claims it has let down vulnerable families by supplying inadequate free school meals packages.

Earlier this week, a mother operating under the Twitter account ‘Roadside Mum’ tweeted a picture of the food package provided for her during the lockdown and a breakdown of the prices. Priced via Asda, the cost of the package equalled £5.22 but public funds were charged £30.

Chartwells, a private company contracted by the Department for Education, provided the food package

responded confirming they are investigating the charge.

Marcus Rashford tweeted in dismay following his campaign before Christmas in which the Government made a U-turn on its decision not to provide free school meals during the holidays.

Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Lib Dem Group on Wiltshire Council, also reacted angrily.

“The school meals debacle continues. It is a disgrace to provide such meagre portions, after a long battle to secure free meals for those in desperate need. The government has allowed private companies to make money by undercutting meals for hungry children.

“Yet again the Government’s priorities remain clear and a complete absence of compassion is obvious. This contrasts to local companies here in Wiltshire who stepped up to provide meals to those most in need in the absence of the Government.

“How can you expect a family to last on these portions for 10 days?”

Sue Brady, from Sue Brady Catering, a family run business in Marlborough which provides school meals, said: “I can’t believe this company is doing this. It is not fair that they are cashing in. We are a family-run business, but at the end of the day the most important thing is that families are getting the right amount of food.

“Our passion is for the children and we have been providing school meals for years now.”