Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has welcomed the Government’s announcement of £415 million to transform school facilities and encourage healthier lifestyles.

Primary, secondary and sixth-form colleges will be able to use the Healthy Pupils Capital Programme to pay for facilities to support physical education (PE), after-school activities and healthy eating. It will also be available for projects which improve facilities for children with physical conditions and support young people struggling with mental health issues.

The money – from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy – will be available in the 2018/19 financial year. Alongside the funding for the PE and Sport Premium, Breakfast Clubs and Universal Infant Free School Meals, it represents over £1.3 billion government investment to help young people live healthier lifestyles. It also builds upon wider government work such as the recent sports strategy.

Commenting, Caroline said:

“The UK has one of the highest overall obesity rates amongst developed countries, with the NHS spending over £6 billion a year on overweight and obesity-related ill health. Instilling healthy eating and good exercise habits from a young age is so important for boosting our children’s wellbeing and ensuring they lead long, health and happy lives. I welcome the Government’s record on tackling the issue of childhood obesity and I sincerely hope local schools will take advantage of this funding from the sugar tax when it becomes available.”