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Local Tory proposes scrapping FSM for all

October 30, 2020 3:14 PM
By Ellen Nicholson

Fresh from the public relations disaster that is free school meals, a local conservative town councillor is now calling the Lib Dem universal infant free school meals, implemented in coalition a 'terrible policy' and suggesting it should be divided along 'class lines' and changed back to only low income families benefitting from free school meals.

Cllr Piazza's viewpoint clearly holds the attraction of reduced costs from their perspective but fails miserably to to understand public health and look at some of the reasons and subsequent benefits why free school meals for infants was introduced in the first place. UIFSM at the cost of around £400 per child per year was introduced to improve children's educational attainment, social skills, develop long term healthy eating habits as well as help families with living costs and reduce the disincentive to work.

By focusing only on cost, the understanding of the social and health aspects of FSM incentive are neglected. Whilst FSM weren't introduced to help obesity, it has seen a reduction in the problem of childhood obesity - a welcome direction considering the UK is the second most obese nation in the world, behind America.

Childhood obesity and overweight is one of the biggest public health challenges the UK faces. Overweight and obesity lead to health problems in both children and adults, such as type two diabetes. Increased health problems impact on the services and cost of services that the NHS can provide, a fact local MP Andrew Murrison will be well aware of from his medical background.

The narrow and retrogressive perspective of focusing just on cost and eligibility to save now, will result in spending later and neglects all the wide ranging health and social benefits to all children and families in local com munities and to wider society over the years.