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Government to ring-fence funds for school meals

26 July 2005

The Government set out its three-year plan for school meals at the Local Authority Caterers Association's (LACA) annual conference in Birmingham.

Penny Jones, school resources divisional manager at the Department for Education & Skills (DfES), said that from September 2006 it would ring-fence £30m a year for three years for school food.

Jones also pledged £30m, £50m and £50m for local authorities over the same period, exclusively to improve school meals services.

"Under the current system," said a DfES spokesman. "A lump of money is given to LEAs who distribute it to schools, but some of it can be diverted into other services like refuse collection. Under the new system there will be two pots of money exclusively for school food."

But foodservice consultant Vic Laws questioned whether the amount was enough. "The Government seems to think that after three years it will become self-funding, but I can't see it."

Laws also believed there will be higher costs to cover labour and equipment required to produce fresh food.

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