The celebrity chef and healthy eating campaigner, Jamie Oliver, has attacked the Conservatives over their plans to end free lunches for some of the youngest primary school children.
Oliver said the “short-sighted” move would prove a mistake in the long run because it would harm children’s health and end up costing the country.
“It’s awful, it’s awful. [Theresa May] will regret it,” Oliver told Channel 4 News on Friday. “We know the diseases that the NHS are overtly paying for now and being punished for and crucified now on cost, which is largely obesity, type 2 diabetes and diet-related diseases.
“This tracks from childhood. It doesn’t just happen [during adulthood], it tracks from childhood. As far as I see it … the school is at the front line of the fight against obesity and diet-related disease.”
Oliver said he was “apolitical” on the issue, having worked with prime ministers from the Labour and Conservative parties on children’s #nutrition.
The prime minister unveiled the policy on Thursday as part of the Tory manifesto. If returned to government, the party plans to end the free lunches for all but the poorest children in the first three years of primary school and provide free breakfasts for pupils instead. The party claims the policy will save about £650 per year per pupil, which will be used to increase schools funding by about £4bn over the parliament.