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Oliver looks for more cash for school meals

16 March 2006

School food campaigner Jamie Oliver wants the Government to establish a 10-15 year plan for school meals.

He also admitted he was worried about falling numbers of school kids choosing school meals since he launched his campaign last year.

Speaking at a school meals conference in London on Tuesday, the celebrity chef said he would ask Education Secretary Ruth Kelly for more time and cash when he met her during the next two months.

"We need to up the budget by two or three times and we need a proper 10-year plan," Oliver said.

Filming his new one-off school meals follow-up programme, to be broadcast in the autumn on Channel 4, Oliver assured Local Authority Caterers Association chairman Kevin McKay that he was worried by falling uptake in school meals since his programme.

"What can I do to stop getting thumped by you?" Oliver asked McKay.

"We really need to shout about the good schools in the next programme," he admitted.

But Oliver, who recently visited schools in Lincolnshire for his new show, warned that 10% of the country still didn't have a hot meals service.

"One school I went to bought two water coolers with the extra Government cash. What affect is that going have?"

Oliver also called for cookery to become a compulsory subject in the national curriculum.

The Government pledged £220m to help fund improvements in school meals before the General Election last year, during Oliver's high-profile Feed Me Better campaign.

By Tom Bill

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