For the second time in as many weeks a Government minister has declined to appear at an important hospitality conference.
At the end of the two-day Local Authority Caterers Association conference at Blackpool's Stakis hotel, chairman John Davis spoke of his disappointment at Education Secretary David Blunkett's decision not to attend.
The news came days after the Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown cancelled a speech at the Joint Hospitality Industry Conference because of "unexpected Government commitments" (Caterer, 9 July, page 8).
Davis said: "I wrote to David Blunkett a year ago and when he eventually responded he said he could not make it.
"Within weeks of the Labour Government being elected he said how important he thought we were, and yet he could not come here. I find it very disappointing."
During the conference, at which catering operators and local councils discussed the future of Britain's school meals system, delegates also wanted to know when Blunkett's much-promised nutritional guidelines for school meals would be published.
Joe Harvey, director of the Health Education Trust, said he expected them to be out "at the end of July or September".