Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire needs £300,000 to get local primary schools ready for the Universal Infant Free School Meals Initiative, it has been reported.
The estimate follows an assessment of kitchens that fall under its control in areas such as Batley, Dewsbury and Huddersfield.
The funds are needed to cover new ovens, ventilation systems and refrigeration equipment, plus amendments to electrical systems so they’re not overloaded.
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner said that Kirklees Cabinet members will be asked next week to spend £300,000 on equipment and alterations to school kitchens to cope with the increased demand.
The council will create 65 new jobs as a result of the UIFSM scheme due to the need for new cooks and catering staff.
In a report, a Kirklees spokesman said: “The delivery of this initiative will lead to the production of approximately 855,000 additional school meals per annum, which will require the employment of an additional 65 school kitchen staff and an additional 30,400 hours per year being given to existing staff.”
It added: “This will have the benefit of providing a range of new job opportunities across Kirklees and will support local suppliers of goods and catering equipment.”