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Jamie Oliver urges UK to use sugar tax to fund free school meals

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has called on states to use the UK’s soft drink tax to fund an additional 800,000 free school meals as inflation worsens food poverty.

Mr Oliver, who was guest editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today program on Tuesday, said: ‘Prioritizing the gap between children on free school lunches and the working poor…it’s vulnerable, I think. 800,000 children we believe in.”

Oliver has previously campaigned on obesity and children’s food quality, advocating a tax on soft drinks containing sugar above a certain threshold introduced in 2018. The levy raised him £334m in the 2021-22 financial year.

He currently supports the Feed the Future campaign led by the Food Foundation charity. cost of living rises.

“If you look at the amount collected from the soft drink tax, it’s not far from what is needed,” Oliver told the BBC. He said there was “continuing confusion” from families worried about how to feed themselves, and that feeding the children was “the best value for the taxpayer’s expense.”

Speaking on the show, former prime minister Tony Blair, who has deployed services such as the Sure Start center for young children, supported Oliver’s call to extend the provision of free school meals. Even more clear… early investment is important,” he said.

Former Prime Minister George Osborne, who introduced a soft drink tax before resigning from government in 2016, told Oliver he would tax more products if he was still in office, and has since launched junk food ads. The government’s decision to delay the ban on

Plans to limit advertising of unhealthy foods on TV and online before 9 p.m. have been repeatedly postponed. Originally he was scheduled for April 2022, the ban is due to take effect in October 2025, and health campaigners are disappointed by the delay.

“As a member of the Conservative Party, we should not be afraid to use government wisely to improve people’s health. By the way, it will also reduce our dependence on public services in the future.” said Osborne.

Oliver’s call came after London’s Westminster Council announced it would provide free school meals to all children in state-run primary schools.

From the Borough’s School of Mary Magdalene, Oliver said: And when you see it working. . . you understand that it’s not rocket science.

The Food Foundation reported in October that around 4 million children were living in UK households that felt food insecure in the past month, a 50% increase from April. We have previously found that people from poverty-stricken households are much more likely to suffer from obesity.

Wales is in the process of rolling out free school meals for all primary school children, and Scotland has pledged to do so.

The Ministry of Education said it understands the pressure many families are under and is helping more children and young people than ever before.

“More than a third of students in England now receive free school meals in their classrooms. We have announced that we are extending the program for another year.”

https://www.ft.com/content/6229ce34-c59e-4709-9c8a-dd2c500e2584 Jamie Oliver urges UK to use sugar tax to fund free school meals

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