LANCASHIRE County Council has shared photographs of the reduced primary school lunches it is now offering because of problems caused by the national lorry driver shortage.

The move is to reassure parents their children will still receive 'a healthy, nutritious and warm meal' during their midday break from classes.

Starting this week until half-term, almost 500 primary schools across the county will be offered a reduced lunch menu because of the problems.

The county council provides 65,000 meals a day to schools in 12 boroughs including 170 in Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale as well as a handful in Blackburn with Darwen borough.

Its education boss Cllr Jayne Rear has promised a healthy meal every day for each primary child while stock levels are replenished.

The temporary menu will consist of two main course choices – soup and choice of sandwich with accompaniments and salad bar or baked potato with a variety of fillings and salad bar.

There will also be fresh fruit, yoghurt, daily dessert options, fresh organic milk or drinking water.

Cllr Rear said: "As has been widely reported in the media nationally there have been issues with food supply chains caused by a shortage of delivery drivers and food industry workers.

"We are working hard to minimise the effect on our schools, but in some instances we may need to offer a reduced menu compared to our usual large choice of dishes.

"We're reducing the menu for all our primary schools to make it fair for everybody.

"We will reduce it for a couple of weeks so we can replenish our stocks, hopefully to be back running after half-term.

"It has been so, so difficult to recruit drivers and it is across the country and we are doing all we can."

So far the only schools affected in Blackburn with Darwen - a separate education authority - are the few which use the county council school meals service for historical reasons.

The county council's post on Facebook and Twitter says: "We've had to temporarily reduce the options available for our school meals.

"As you can see from these photos, all pupils will still receive a healthy, nutritious and warm meal.

"We expect the full menu to return after the October half-term break."

As the fourth largest local authority in England, Lancashire County Council buys a large amount of food and drink, with 80 per cent of meals freshly prepared and cooked in school kitchens.

All of its suppliers are classified as 'local' while 75 per cent of the food it purchases is produced in the UK.