Tory mayoral hopeful will 'look into options' for all Jewish primary school children to get hot kosher lunches

A Conservative candidate for Mayor of London sets out her vision for London's Jewish community


Jewish primary schools across the capital should give all students a hot kosher lunch, a Conservative candidate for Mayor of London has said. 

Susan Hall said she “would look at options” to ensure all Jewish students at state primary schools across London would get a nutritionally balanced hot kosher meal.

Her pledge comes shortly after pupils at around 20 schools in north London were told to bring in a packed lunch when a kosher caterer went bust due to spiralling costs. 

All pupils in state primary schools in England receive free school meals from reception to year two. Government ministers provide £2.41 per meal for KS1 students (reception to Year 2) but a nutritionally balanced hot kosher meal is estimated to cost from £4 to £5.50. 

Earlier this year, the current London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced a £130 million policy to extend the free school meal scheme to all primary pupils in the capital. 

After concerns were raised about funding kosher lunches, schools minister Nick Gibb told Jewish school heads to work with the “help that is already available” from the government.

But Hall told the JC: “If we are going to give free school meals out to certain age groups, then clearly dietary requirements should be a part of that. 

“Why on earth should Jewish children not have a kosher meal?”

She added: “The issue has got to be dealt with. Of course, I will look into this.”

Hall went on to criticise Khan’s free school meals rollout, saying: “Nobody knows if that’s going to be enough for school kitchens to cope. It was very badly thought out.” 

On her priorities for crime, Hall addressed the scale of antisemitic incidents in London compared to the rest of the UK.

CST figures revealed half of the 2,255 antisemitic incidents reported in the UK in 2021 were in London, an increase of 33 per cent from the previous year. 

Hall said: “There is this deep-rooted fear [among the Jewish community] and that has been growing…It’s been getting worse and worse. 

“There is a massive lack of trust in the police by Jewish communities, they feel unsafe.”

She said politicians should be “talking to the community groups to ask them what would make them feel better”.

If Hall gets elected next May, she said she will set up specific units in the Metropolitan Police to deal with low-level crime including burglaries and thefts, adding: “This would certainly help all communities.”

The former leader of Harrow Council also promised to scrap the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which will see drivers in every Greater London borough charged £12.50 a day from next month.

She added: “For all Londoners, including the Jewish community, the expansion of the ULEZ will cause nothing but trouble.”

Hall said of her hopes for serving the Jewish community: “If I have a Jewish person say to me at the end of the four years ‘I feel safer’, that would be such a reward.

“I am a longstanding friend and supporter of Israel and the Jewish community.

“Israel is not just a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, but a shining example of resilience, ingenuity and entrepreneurship.” 

She is up against Mozammel Hossain in the contest to be named Tory candidate for London mayor. A third candidate, Daniel Korski, dropped out recently after being accused of groping a TV producer a decade ago - an allegation Korski has strenuously denied.

A London Labour source said: “Whoever the Tories select as their candidate, Sadiq will be proudly campaigning on his record delivering for Londoners, building record numbers of council homes, giving primary children school meals and cleaning up our air”.

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