MP slams free school-meals axe

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FRUSTRATED Bulwell MP Graham Allen has slammed a government proposal to axe plans to offer free school-dinners to more disadvantaged children.

Mr Allen (Lab) says the move is part of £125 million worth of cuts from the school meals budget that will hit hard youngsters from poorer families in Bulwell and the rest of his Nottingham North constituency.

The previous Labour government came up with the scheme to extend free school meals. But the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition want to scrap the plan as part of widespread austerity measures.

During a Parliamentary debate, Mr Allen highlighted the “severe effects” the proposed cutbacks would have on Bulwell and Nottingham North children.

He said measures such as plans to scrap cookery lessons and the School Lunch Grant were also detrimental.

“Every expert says that a healthy diet is the key to longevity and a good lifestyle,” said Mr Allen. “No-one disagrees that children need healthy food to learn and to develop into the sort of adults we want them to become.

“In Bulwell, families are struggling to cope, with 28 people chasing every job. Too often the children suffer by not eating good, wholesome food.

“This latest round of penny-pinching is set to deprive the poorest areas further and lead to an even more divided Britain.”

He added: “A poor diet wasn’t acceptable in Dickens’s time and it isn’t acceptable now.”