TV chefs fear scrapping UIFSM would be a 'disaster'

Jamie Oliver is calling on the government to also to introduce a 20p sugar tax
14/09/2015 - 14:34
Jamie Oliver and Raymond Blanc have warned the government that any plans by the Government to scrap the Universal Infant Free School Meals scheme would be a ‘disaster’ and could increase the childhood obesity crisis.

The Sunday Times reported that the support came as 500 headteachers signed an open letter to the newspaper calling on the Government to extend the scheme to all children up to the age of 11.

Oliver and Blanc claim that pupils’ health, concentration and behaviour are improved after eating a hot, healthy meal at lunchtime.

The future of the UIFSM service was bought into question last week after two national newspapers carried stories suggesting the service costing too much money and not seeing enough success.

The Daily Mail reported that schools had been forced to utilise other budgets to subsidise the programme, whilst The Telegraph said uptake rates were low as children weren’t enjoying the food.

Jamie Oliver told The Sunday Times: “The free school meals initiative for all infants has been a major step forward for children’s health and academic performance. It gives kids a great start at school, opening them up to different foods, and crucially it is transforming the food culture in our schools by taking away the need for parents to make a packed lunch. It would be a disaster if it were to be taken away.”

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