SNP puts school menus on manifesto

8th April 2005 at 01:00
The Scottish National Party has called for Scotland's pound;28 million share of additional Government spending on school meals to be used to provide free meals for P1-P3 children and free fruit for all pregnant women and children up to the end of primary school.

The Westminster Government has put in pound;280 million for improving school meals in England. The extra money follows a successful campaign by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to improve the quality of food provided to pupils south of the border.

The SNP call for "healthy kids' cash" came as Shona Robison, shadow health minister, and Fiona Hyslop, shadow education minister, published the party's mini-manifesto for "Fit, Healthy Young Scots".

Ms Robison said: "Children's health, and in particular their diet, is of huge concern to the people of Scotland. That is why we have developed this detailed plan for action to focus on what needs to be done to tackle this serious problem.

"With one in five children in Scotland aged 12 now classified as clinically obese and every third child overweight, we need action now to make a real difference in the future. There is no quick fix solution, but allocating this new money to our priorities will ensure that our children begin the journey to better health."

Ms Hyslop said: "As England plays catch-up on Scotland, we are calling for Scotland to forge ahead with a joined-up health, education and sports agenda to tackle the ticking time bomb of childhood obesity head on."

She added: "Universal free nutritious school meals at the start of primary helps develop early tastes for good food for all Scotland's children and provides firm foundations to build on. The free nutritious school meals and free fruit for young families from pregnancy on is about developing young palates.

"But it is not just food which will influence health and well-being, and many Executive policies actively hinder healthy life-styles. That is why we are launching a full package of health, education and sports policies."

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