Healthy policy

COUNCILLOR Gilbert (Viewpoints, Gazette, August 12) fails to grasp the rationale behind Labour s free school meals policy, and the reason that it was so popular among voters in May.

COUNCILLOR Gilbert (Viewpoints, Gazette, August 12) fails to grasp the rationale behind Labour's free school meals policy, and the reason that it was so popular among voters in May.

In a deeply divided borough such as Islington, ensuring that all primary school pupils children can enjoy a healthy meal together at lunchtime will have wide and long-lasting benefits. All the evidence shows that a decent meal improves pupils' concentration and behaviour and helps their learning. Since free school meals were introduced by Labour, take up has increased from 58 per cent to 82 per cent, meaning that the vast majority of primary school pupils now get a healthy lunch.

Making meals free for all gives a helping hand to hard-pressed families and removes the social stigma that I remember from my own school days with "dinner tickets" for poorer children.

He also fails to note that �1.6million of funding from central Government - recently cut by his colleagues in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government - would have met half the cost of the scheme.

In the face of savage cuts Islington Labour will continue to fight for fairness and this includes protecting free school meals. - Councillort Kate Groucutt, Labour member for Mildmay ward, Islington Council, Town Hall, N1.