People's menu is broth and chops

21st September 2001 at 01:00
SCOTCH broth, lamb chops with mashed potatoes and gravy followed by blackberry crumble and custard would be lapped up by pupils if school meals used Scottish products and were free, Tommy Sheridan, the Scottish Socialist leader, said this week.

As the lone Socialist MSP published his draft Bill designed to provide free meals and ensure high nutritional standards, Jack McConnell, Education Minister, said he was prepared to look again at mandatory guidelines on nutrition.

Mr McConnell told MSPs: "We must consider that option. Standards are applicable across the board for schools in England and minimum standards may be appropriate for Scotland."

Mr Sheridan has cross-party support for a Bill that would cost around pound;230 million a year. "Different queues, different coloured meal tickets or the simple knowledge that you are poor enough to get free school meals is a major deterrent to many thousands of children," he said.

Eileen Mullen, a local authority adviser and former home economists' spokeswoman, believed all councils had nutrition plans "but food on the plate is not necessarily matching up with the aspirations of the catering services".

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