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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 July 2006, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
City votes on ending free meals
School dinners - generic
The scheme costs more than 3m a year to fund
Plans to stop offering free school meals for every primary pupil in Hull came under fire on Thursday.

In 2004, the city's Labour council became the first in England to offer free meals to all primary age children.

But the council, now Lib Dem run, says the 3m-a-year scheme is too expensive and wants to scrap it from May 2007.

The decision angered MPs, children's charities and Hull's Labour councillors who won a vote reaffirming support for the scheme at a meeting on Thursday.

Budget pressures

Deputy Labour group leader Darren Hales said: "Are they saying that money is more important than the health of children in this city?

"There is the money in this city to fund this scheme. It's about funding our children's health as well as funding other priorities."

Council leader Carl Minns said his administration was "totally committed" to providing healthy meals for pupils but budget pressures meant the scheme was "unaffordable".

The Child Poverty Action Group wrote to all councillors in the city ahead of the vote to ask them not to pull the plug on the project before it is fully evaluated.

A parliamentary motion, tabled by Hull North MP Diana Johnson and signed by 70 MPs from all parties, has called for Hull City Council to reconsider its decision.

School meals 'must be made free'
26 Apr 05 |  Education
Free dinners for primary pupils
19 Apr 04 |  Humber
Free school meals plan approved
09 Mar 04 |  Humber
Pupils promised free school meals
13 Feb 04 |  Education


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