School caterers' body wants SFT cash redirected to front-line services

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Sandra Russell.jpgThe new chairman of the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) has called on the coalition Government to invest the money saved from cutting School Food Trust (SFT) funding on front-line services.

Speaking to, Sandra Russell, who officially assumes her role as LACA chairman next week, said that after news the SFT funding was for the chop in next month's Comprehensive Spending Review, ministers should redirect at least some of the saved cash towards ensuring the continuation of the school meals service.

Russell said the trust, set up in 2005, had done a good job of a difficult task but had always been intended to exist for a finite time only.

"The trust has worked tirelessly to implement the Government's agenda, and has created a range of marketing materials to help school caterers that simply wouldn't have existed otherwise. It has also provided an advisory service during a period where there have been a lot of questions and concern.

"LACA has always tried to find common ground and has worked closely with the trust, while agreeing to disagree on certain issues. However the time has come to let school caterers continue to take the service forward based on the solid foundation that the trust has helped build," Russell said.

In May the newly elected coalition Government slashed the SFT's budget by £1m as part of its initial spending cuts aimed at reducing the UK's massive deficit. However, a leaked document published in the Daily Telegraph today named the SFT as one of numerous quangos that would get the funding chop in October's spending review.

The SFT was unavailable to comment.

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