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Tories deny over 65,000 children the right to healthy school food in the North East & Cumbria

Tristram Hunt at Trinity School, Carlisle

New figures show that around 1.8 million children – nearly one in four pupils in state-funded schools – could still be being served fatty, unhealthy food and fizzy drinks at lunchtime and snacks from vending machines in schools, because of the Tories’ decision to exempt thousands of schools from the rules to deliver healthy food in schools.

In North East & Cumbria there are around 65,500 children who could be being served fatty, unhealthy food at their school – 122 schools in North East & Cumbria are not signed up to nutritional school food standards, as a direct result of the Tories’ decision to exempt them.

Labour is announcing today that in government we will close this Tory loophole and ensure that the nutritional food standards apply to every state school in the country – a firm guarantee to parents that their child will be served healthy and wholesome food, whatever type of school they attend.

Some 28 per cent of children in England are classed as either overweight or obese – yet David Cameron is still refusing to give every child the right to healthy and nutritional school food. Diet-related illnesses are putting a huge strain on our NHS – costing the health service £10 billion every year.

Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt, said:

“No child should be denied the right to the nutritional, healthy food that they need to support their learning. But under the Tories, thousands of schools are still allowed to serve junk food to children – this is failing children and their parents, who deserve to have confidence in the quality of food their children get at school.

“Labour has a better plan. We will ensure that nutritional food standards apply in all state schools, so that every child, in every school has access to healthy food and is ready to learn when they are in the classroom.”

Richard Corrigan, Michelin star chef and three time winner of the Great British Menu, said:

“We need to ensure all children are given nutritious food in schools that will help them to concentrate in lessons, help drive down levels of childhood obesity and make sure all children enjoy the benefits of a healthy and tasty diet. The standard of food a child receives shouldn’t depend on the type of school they go to. Labour’s plans to ensure that all schools follow the nutritional food standards will help to ensure our children have a better diet, are ready to learn, and grow up with a taste for healthy and wholesome food.”

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