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Funding cut in fight against child obesity

It is being reported today that services put in place to help tackle childhood obesity face cuts of more than £5 million this year - despite the previous government pledge to halve the problem by 2030. Analysis of local authority budgets, carried out by Labour, has shown that public health spending overall will be £96.3 million lower in 2018/19 than last year. £4.5 million less will be spent on the national child measurement programme, which records weight and height in the first and final years of primary school. Specific childhood obesity programmes will be cut by £750,000

Rob Percival, Food for Life Policy Officer, said:

“It’s utterly nonsensical that the Government is ploughing ahead with cuts to public health budgets, even as it sets the ambition of halving childhood obesity by 2030. We need investment in prevention at national and local levels, and we need action, not rhetoric, if this laudable ambition is to be achieved. Repeated claims from the Government that the Obesity Plan is ‘world leading’ will prove to be entirely meaningless unless the Plan is adequately funded and actually implemented. Where is the Healthy Rating Scheme for primary schools that was promised in 2016? Why haven’t the School Food Standards been updated, as promised? The latest chapter of the Plan promises a new ‘trailblazer’ programme for local authorities, showcasing best practice in obesity prevention – we look forward to seeing this programme (if it’s ever established) but it will be of little value if public health teams are simultaneously starved of funding. By taking pounds from prevention budgets, the Government is simply piling pounds onto children’s waistlines.”

Find out more about our school programme here.