Schools across the North East are owed nearly £200,000 in unpaid school dinner money, according to a Freedom of Information Act request.
In most councils there has been an increase in the amount owed, forcing councils to take the money from the rest of the education budget.
Some families owe more than £800, while more and more are struggling to pay.
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The operation took around three hours to complete, with the remains being disposed of by a specialist animal by-product company.
Local MPs are now writing to the Prime Minister demanding that statutory redundancy is paid from another budget.
The Chair of the SSI Task Force has outlined some of the support which is available to people affected by closure of the steelworks.