THE Government has promised to investigate after images shared online showed “woefully inadequate” free school meal parcels sent to families.

Children’s Minister Vicky Ford said she would be “urgently” look into the matter after one mother posted an image of a £30 parcel which was estimated to contain just over £5 worth of food.

Sharing the image, Twitter user Roadside Mum said: “2 days jacket potato with beans, 8 single cheese sandwiches, 2 days carrots, 3 days apples, 2 days soreen, 3 days frubes.

“Spare pasta & tomato. Will need mayo for pasta salad.

“Issued instead of £30 vouchers. I could do more with £30 to be honest.”

Footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford tweeted another picture and wrote: “3 days of food for 1 family… Just not good enough.

“Then imagine we expect the children to engage in learning from home.

“Not to mention the parents who, at times, have to teach them who probably haven’t eaten at all so their children can… We MUST do better.”

Redcar and Cleveland MP Jacob Young said: "I’ve seen lots of posts about the lunch boxes that some schools have put together for the lunch this week - please note these lunch boxes are for children on Free School Meals.

"I’ve spoken to the Schools minister late last night who has confirmed, last week the school caterers were given £11.50 per child on Free School Meals to make up the lunch boxes.

"She said that this has been increased to £15 this week in the hope that schools will be able to provide better packs.

"Please get in touch with my office if you have concerns about your child’s lunch box, and we will contact the school on your behalf.

"The Government is reintroducing the national voucher system that was active during first lockdown but this won’t be ready until the week after next due to the company’s that runs it.

"Schools will the have a choice between lunch boxes, or vouchers - depending on the needs of their children.

"Please be mindful of the fact that schools had expected to open last week and so these lunch boxes are last minute and rushed.

"Also, not all schools have had issues and parents have been impressed with the lunch boxes provided."

The Department of Health wrote on Twitter: “We have clear guidelines and standards for food parcels, which we expect to be followed.

“Parcels should be nutritious and contain a varied range of food.”

She estimated the cost of the food in the package at £5.22 based on prices at Asda.

Chartwells, the company which she said provided the parcel, responded to say they would investigate.

They said: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention, this does not reflect the specification of one of our hampers.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described the situation as “a disgrace”.

He tweeted: “The images appearing online of woefully inadequate free school meal parcels are a disgrace.

“Where is the money going?

“This needs sorting immediately so families don’t go hungry through lockdown.”

After announcing her plans to investigate, Ms Ford also defended the use of parcels instead of vouchers for families in need.

She tweeted: “One of the reasons why some schools have used food parcels rather than vouchers is that it helps keep them in touch with families.

“Very sadly during the pandemic there has been an increase in risk to some children. Do calll @NSPCC If you are concerned about a child.”