Proposals that will see 27 catering-related jobs created in Angus due to a Tayside wide shake-up in the way school meals are prepared will go before councillors early next year.
After an initial investment of £100,000, Angus Council chiefs also believe the move could achieve annual savings of £130,000 for the county.
Under the scheme, a Tayside Contracts-owned food production facility in Dundee would be expanded to cater for the increased demand for school meals anticipated under the Scottish Government proposal to expand the provision of early years education to 1140 hours per year by 2020.
In a scheme already used by Angus Council, the meals would be produced and frozen in Dundee before being delivered to schools throughout Tayside where they would be heated and served.
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Convener of children and learning at the local authority, Councillor Derek Wann confirmed that more posts would be created, but added that it was “very early days”.
He said: “This is a proposal that is being considered by a number of local authorities, and will have to be examined before all Angus council elected members, so no decision has yet been made.
“We currently fund the provision of ELC to approximately 2,500 children, and about 1,800 of this provision is through council nurseries and these children would be eligible to be provided with a lunch by the council when the 1140 expansion is implemented in 2020.
“This really is all about pooling resources in what are extremely challenging financial times, and the need to achieve economies of scale where possible.
“If this project goes forward, then it will bring with it a welcome jobs boost, and deliver financial savings.
However, the scheme has drawn criticism from some members of Perth and Kinross council, where although savings of £400,000 are anticipated, the equivalent of 8.6 full time equivalent jobs are expected to go.
Perth and Kinross councillor Dave Doogan, SNP, said he was “very hopeful that we can stop the plan.”
“This council should think very carefully before throwing people out of their jobs. These staff are often in rural and remote parts where opportunities for work are scarce or non-existent.”
A spokesperson for Tayside Contracts said the firm “will not be making any comment at this time on this matter.”
Angus Councillors will initially scrutinise the proposal at the end of January 2019, before they go to full council in February.