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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2006, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Free school meals scheme scrapped
School dinners - generic
Burgers were banned from school menus in Hull in 2004
A pioneering scheme to provide free school meals for every primary school child in Hull is to be scrapped.

The city became the first in England to offer free school meals when the pilot scheme was brought in by its Labour council in 2004.

The project, which costs almost four million pounds a year aimed to tackle underachievement among pupils through healthy eating.

But the council's new Liberal Democrat administration says it costs too much.

Budget pressures

Council leader Carl Minns said: "Liberal Democrats are totally committed to healthy school meal provision. Our fervent belief in healthy nutrition for the young a la Jamie Oliver was the basis of our past proposals to increase the nutritional content and value of school meals.

"But healthy should not be confused with free and we maintain that the free school meal programme, which has led to an increase of over 3m of spending on school meals, is unaffordable when there are so many pressures on the council's budget."

Free school meals for every child will be withdrawn when the pilot scheme ends in May 2007, the council added.

The increasing popularity of the scheme saw up to 95% of children eating school meals in Hull and 24,000 pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables served up in schools across the city every day.

In May 2005, the first anniversary of the project, teachers said they had seen an improvement in concentration among pupils since the healthy meals were introduced.

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26 Apr 05 |  Education
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19 Apr 04 |  Humber
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09 Mar 04 |  Humber
Pupils promised free school meals
13 Feb 04 |  Education


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