Kingston upon Hull opposition leader Ken Branson has said there is little prospect of the ruling Liberal Democrats scrapping plans to do-away with free school meals in the region.
Although the pioneering scheme, introduced in 2004, has brought health benefits and seen school meals uptake shoot to 64% compared with 43% nationally, Branson believes a budget meeting on 1 March will kill off the service for good.
Branson told the Yorkshire Post: "At this stage, I cannot see any concessions being made by either side over free school meals."
Liberal Democrats, which won council control in May 2006, believe the £5m the service costs could be better spent elsewhere and have opposed the scheme since it was introduced by Labour councillors.
Liberal Democrat leader of the council Carl Minns has said those who can't afford to pay will still receive free meals under the existing means-testing system and that it is "unfair" to ask Hull's council taxpayers to foot the school meals bill.
The council's proposal to scrap the scheme is opposed by teachers, parents the GMB Union and local MPs including Hull North's Diana Johnson. (See tomorrow's issue of Caterer for more)
By Chris Druce