“Bloated” reserves held by Bradford Council should be used to upgrade school kitchens, according to the Respect Party.

As reported by the Telegraph & Argus, the authority is struggling to find up to £1.2 million to upgrade kitchens ahead of a Government shake-up in September.

From the next academic year, free school dinners must be available for all children under seven, but local authorities across the country face a bill of millions of pounds to bring school kitchens up to a level to cope with the extra demand.

In Bradford, work is needed at 40 schools, which is expected to cost between £1.6 million and £2.5 million – but the Government is only providing £1.3 million.

Now the Respect party’s education spokesman Peter Davis has called on the Council to stump up the rest of the cash from its reserves.

As of this month, the Council’s total reserves stand at £146.9 million, which includes £41 million held by the district’s schools.

Councillor Ralph Berry (Lab) said the authority was already using reserves cash to protect frontline services, and was also investing reserves money in its Get Bradford Working jobs programme.