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Charity says school meals healthier but 'long way to go'

A spokesman for the Children's Food Trust said evidence shows that schools are offering healthier meals and children are eating more nutritious lunches since national school food standards were put in place.

The average meal is lower in fat, sugar and salt, more children are having water to drink instead of sugary drinks and the amount of fruit and veg on pupils' plates has gone up.

There's still a long way to go but the level playing field created by the standards has been key - and our studies show that when children eat a healthier lunch, they do better in the afternoons.

– A Children's Food Trust spokesman

Government: 'Room for improvement' on school meals

A Department for Education spokeswoman said if the Local Government Association has evidence of academies and free schools providing unhealthy meals to their pupils then it should be released.

Far from being paragons of nutrition, many maintained schools are not meeting food standards and are offering cakes, biscuits and fizzy drinks to their pupils.

Others have said they find the standards too bureaucratic, rigid, and difficult to administer.

However, there is room for improvement across the board - that is why we have asked independent reviewers to consider the best way to help all schools offer good, well-balanced food.

– A spokeswoman for the Department for Education

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LGA warns of 'two-tier system' on healthy school meals

Chairman of the Local Government Association's children and young people board, David Simmonds, said the current Government strategy on healthy school meals has resulted in a "two-tier system".

Mr Simmonds said:

As champions for parents and children, councils with new public health responsibilities will want to hold all schools to account if they are ducking their moral duty to give students the best chance of living a happy and healthy life.

We now need Government to do its part by introducing an acceptable food standard that will allow councils to hold all schools to account for the nutritional quality of food they serve their pupils.

One million children 'eating unhealthy school meals'

More than a million children could be eating unhealthily at lunchtime because their schools are exempt from tough food standards, council leaders have warned.

The LGA has reissued its call to the Government to set a single standard for school meals Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Free schools and academies that opt out of national regulations are "ducking their moral duty" to make sure school children receive healthy meals, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

The LGA issued a fresh call to the Government to introduce a single standard that applies to all schools to ensure every pupil has access to a healthy lunch.

LGA wants to cap public spending on elderly care

Sir Merrick, leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council in London, asks the Government to commit to capping the amount people will have to pay for their elderly care and working to ensure it is successfully implemented.

Last year an official commission chaired by the economist Andrew Dilnot recommended that the state should pick up the cost of care beyond £35,000, at an estimated cost to the public purse of less than £2 billion. The LGA letter says the proposal is an expensive but worthy investment.

We recognise that Dilnot comes with a price tag which, in the current economic climate, is challenging. But across the political spectrum at the LGA we believe it is a cost worth paying.

That is why we are working on an offer to the Government that will set out what local government can do to make Dilnot affordable, workable and well understood by those who would determine its success at a local level.

Call to look at 'whole picture' when reforming care for elderly

In his letter to the leaders of all three main political parties, Sir Merrick, leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council in London had suggestions for reforming care for the elderly:

We need a solution which includes fair funding and gives individuals' peace of mind; but that also takes account of the Law Commission report and makes the system simpler. Only by looking at the whole picture and bringing all these strands together will we be able to reform the system to secure the transparency and stability that is so desperately needed.

The letter also calls for improved efficiency in reform, including pooled budgets to provide further benefits for individuals.

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