Tory councillors fear switch to vegetarian and vegan meals at Powys schools
Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter
Promises to serve meat and dairy products at Powys schools are being sought by councillors who fear that menus could become vegetarian and vegan cuisine only.
At a Powys County Council meeting on Thursday, December 8 a motion will be brought forward by Conservative councillors that seeks a commitment to serve meat and dairy for at least the next five years.
The concern is due to a move earlier this year by Liberal Democrat/Labour and Green Party run Oxfordshire County Council.
In Oxford, the administration decided to ban meat and dairy products from official council functions to make the “planet more sustainable” – a move which caused uproar in some circles.
Schools in Oxfordshire also have two days a week where the menu is meat and dairy free.
Cllr Iain McIntosh who presents this motion, said: “Following discussions with many farmers, businesses, and members of the public, there is considerable concern that as Powys County Council is under the control of Labour and the Liberal Democrats, a meat and dairy ban may be introduced here too.
“This council therefore calls upon the Labour/Lib Dem administration to commit to serve good quality meat and dairy products provided locally where possible at all official meetings and events where food is to be served and at all council run buildings all Powys schools and colleges where food is served, for the remainder of this term of administration. ”
Cllr McIntosh added that vegetarian and vegan food should be an “option.” His motion will be seconded by fellow Tory, Cllr Les George.
Last year the school catering budget was over £2.2million.
If the motion is successful, the financial costings which need to accompany each notice of motion suggest that this budget will need to be increased.
But how much on top of the £2.2 million cannot be calculated until “further analysis” is done.
The report said that “a significant amount” of work would need to happen to identify and establish new contracts with local suppliers.
The report adds that in some Powys schools the menu includes two meat free days in every three weeks.
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