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Kingston upon Hull's school meals scheme earns reprieve

08 March 2007
Kingston upon Hull's school meals scheme earns reprieve

Supporters of Kingston upon Hull's pioneering healthy free school meals service have welcomed its 11th-hour reprieve, but have attacked the continuing uncertainty around the scheme's long-term status.

The move to scrap Hull's free school meals at a council budget meeting last Thursday (1 March) was thwarted by a Labour-led amendment, securing funding for the next financial year.

However, the Liberal Democrats, who control the council, believe the cost of the service, put at between £3m and £5m by the different sides, could be money better spent elsewhere and have vowed to fight on.

Hull MP Diana Johnson said: "The Lib Dems and Tories are determined to abolish the policy if they have enough votes after this year's elections. This successful initiative therefore remains under threat."

Les Dobbs, organiser at the GMB union, which represents dinner ladies, said: "We have no confidence in the Liberal Democrats. This is a good initiative that's attracting attention around the country and it should run. The reason Jamie Oliver didn't come to Hull on his school meals campaign is that we're already doing it."

Uptake of school meals in Hull has doubled in the past year to 64% across the region, compared with the national average of 43%.

View more on school meals here >>

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