School dinners supplier stops trading

A catering company which supplied school dinners and catering services to businesses has stopped trading, putting more than 400 jobs at risk.

Parents at schools supplied by P&A Food Management Services Limited, which is based in Carthorpe, near Bedale, have been told the firm has gone into liquidation.

According to its last accounts the company employed around 420 people and had an annual turnover of more than £10 million.

It is understood staff also found out that the company had collapsed and they would not be paid this month.

It is understood the company supplied school dinners to a number of schools in North Yorkshire and elsewhere across the UK, with schools told this afternoon it had stopped trading.

Among the the schools its supplied was The Wensleydale School, in Leyburn.

In a letter to parents, headteacher Julia Polly said: “Late this afternoon, we have been informed that the catering company P&A, who supply our meals have gone into liquidation with immediate effect.

“Therefore can all students please bring packed lunch on Monday 2 March.

“We will provide students who are in receipt of free school meals with a sandwich lunch.

“Obviously we will make alternative arrangements as swiftly as possible and keep everyone informed of next steps.”

Leyburn Primary School also uses P&A.

In an email to parents this afternoon, the Leyburn school said children in KS2 would need to bring in a packed lunch next week.

According to the last accounts, P&A’s two directors shared more than £450,000 in remuneration and dividends in 2019.

A woman answering the phone at the P&A offices this afternoon said that nobody was available to comment.

The P&A website has been suspended, according to a message displayed on what should be the home screen.

North Yorkshire County Council said it was unable to comment until next week, although a spokeswoman said the council supplied school dinners to the majority of schools in Hambleton and Richmondshire.