Monday 30 August 2010


I was disappointed to see reported in the Evening Times that Glasgow Labour intend to cut free fruit for school children. Glasgow's health problems are well known, and this initiative was a positive step to try and turn things around.

I know from visiting schools and nurseries in the city, and from the various gala days over the summer that children in the East End are now getting used to the idea of eating fruit regularly; they know and like the taste. Organisations like East End Kids 'n' Co, who provide fruit kebabs and smoothies at fun days, could barely keep up with the demand!

There are always new mouths to feed though, and while this current crop of youngsters have adopted healthier habits, those who follow need to be encouraged too. Sadly, not every parent will choose to have fruit at home, or can afford it; parents might not be in the habit of eating fruit themselves. Schemes such as this can make a difference, and use the 'pester power' of children for good.

The really frustrating thing is that, according to the Herald this morning, the SNP Scottish Government, anticipating that free oranges could be squeezed by budget cutbacks, applied to the EU to be part of a free fruit programme. Success looked likely until Westminster indicated their intention to claw back 72p of every £1 we would save by participating. This is absolutely farcical; in these circumstances, the Scottish Government is penalised for trying to be innovative and fiscally efficient. EU money is out these, but under devolution it doesn't pay us to apply for it.

Independence would allow us the freedom to manage our economy - from school fruit to high finance - for the benefit of our people. We shouldn't have to ask permission for this basic principle.


Anonymous said...

Aye - another "tax" on those who can lest afford it. Parents of nursery children can now expect to be charged for any snack provided in nursery. There is an expectatiom from HMIE and Care Commission that children will receive a snack during their nursery session, troube is it is not funded in any way except for free fruit and free milk. Young children need to eat small amounts of healthy food in between main meal times. Someone has to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

I'm told that Kwik Fit's call centre in Uddingston runs a similar scheme for its employees, that not only provides free fruit in the canteen for their lunches but allows them to take free veg home for their dinners. The management say it leads to fewer sick days as well.

wee folding bike said...

Oranges squeezed... I saw what you did there.