MINISTERS' plans for every pupil in the first three years of primary to receive a free school meal from next year will not work in some rural areas, it has been warned.

Highland Council's Adult and Children's Services Committee yesterday considered a report highlighting the difficulties for remote schools that did not have kitchens and were too far from other institutions for hot meals to be delivered.

A total of 10 Highland primaries, accounting for 44 children in the first three years, do not have a catering service. The committee will now establish the financial consequences for the council, whose catering budget is already in a "pressure situation".

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The Scottish Government has pledged to work with local authorities to find a practical way forward.

A spokeswoman said: "We recognise that school food services across Scotland are designed to suit local and school needs and vary widely in terms of methods of food preparation, distribution and menu choice.

"In order to deliver our commitment on free school meals, we will work in partnership with (local authority umbrella group) Cosla over the next year to explore how any practical implications will be addressed."