If Labour is re-elected, more money will be made available to
improve the quality of school meals, education secretary Ruth Kelly
announced this week at the launch of a new Labour children’s
Kelly also pledged to provide additional resources to improve
school kitchens, equipment and dining areas.
Kelly said that more details on the extra meals funding would be
made available in the next few weeks. The manifesto reveals that
the plans to improve school kitchens will partly be funded by the
extra investment in primary schools announced in the 2005
Other commitments under a third term Labour government outlined
in the document include incentivising schools to comply with the
measures through Ofsted taking account of meals in its inspection
framework from this September. A new vocational qualification to
help school dinner ladies to drive up standards is also
In other areas the manifesto reveals plans to set a national
target to stop the year on year increase in obesity amongst under
11s by 2010.
Ministers go on to pledge to increase the child element of the
working tax credit at least in line with average earnings up to and
including 2007-8 and state that this will play a key role in
meeting their targets of halving children poverty by 2010-11 and
eradicating it by 2020.
Children’s minister Margaret Hodge, also speaking at the
manifesto launch, said that the government had a role in supporting
families. “We believe government should not interfere, but that
government should help. The state doesn’t bring up children, people
do. But that recognition should not lead government to abandon
families either,” she said.
The Child Poverty Action Group welcomed the measures but warned
that more investment would be needed to lift the poorest children
out of poverty.
Anne Longfield, chief executive of children’s charity
4Children, applauded the focus on children but said that the
government needed to make “firmer commitments” on
providing young people with places to go and things to do in the
Children forward not back from: www.labour.org.uk