The Antrim Councillor stated: “England has been given £240 million to make sure school pupils eat healthily, yet we have been denied the quick provision of such funding here due to bureaucracy within the Northern Ireland civil service.
“This funding has been provided in England in response to Jamie Oliver’s school meals television series.
“It would have been excellent if schools here were able to welcome such a move today, as it is the first day back for many schoolchildren. However, the fact that all legislation implemented in England must be screened before it can be introduced here, has stopped this initiative from being announced at the start of this new academic year.
“School meals in England now must have at least two portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Processed foods will now only be served occasionally, and from 2008 secondary school pupils will also be given cookery lessons thanks to this funding. Such funding must be provide as a matter of urgency in Northern Ireland to help reduce obesity and to promote healthy living among young people.”
Alan Lawther concluded: “Red tape is stopping vital legislation being implemented quickly and effectively here. The best way to stop civil service bureaucracy and delays is to get devolution up and running here again, so that we can make our own decisions swiftly and efficiently.”