The Green Party will be asking the Council to push the Government to provide free school meals for every child in a motion to Full Council on Wednesday (Dec 3rd). The Greens also want the Council to to consider copying TV chef Jamie Oliver’s “Ministry of Food” project in Rotherham, where people how to cook healthy dishes and then “pass it on” by teaching other people.
Coun Jillian Creasy said, “Our eating habits are changing. Research by the University of Sheffield shows how difficult it is for families to sit down and eat together at night in our modern world of flexible working, and cooking skills are not being passed on from generation to generation in the traditional way.
“Providing every child with a balanced nutritious lunch would cost £1.8 bn.
But the NHS would save at least this much because fewer of these children would suffer from health problems linked to obesity and a poor diet later in life. And it has been shown that a good diet helps children to concentrate,
co-operate and learn.
“300,000 children across the country are now eligible for free school meals are not actually currently receiving them. But int in Finland and Sweden, where school meals are free, take-up is 90% and 85% respectively. Making sure that all children receive at least one healthy meal a day would cost about one fifth of the money spent on city bonuses in 2006-7. Surely this is a sound investment in our children’s future.”