EVERY primary school child in Hartlepool could receive a free, healthy breakfast after councillors agreed to look into it.
At a full council meeting, councillors backed a proposal by independent councillor Jonathan Brash to set a strategic goal to provide breakfast for every primary school child in the town by September 2015.
The plans are at an early stage and further work will have to be carried out around funding, but Coun Brash has described it as a “dramatic and important step”.
Hartlepool Borough Council is now considering whether to roll out the scheme to primary schools across the town under the proposals.
Speaking after the recent full council meeting, Coun Brash, who represents the Burn Valley ward in Hartlepool, said: “Children who do not have breakfast suffer higher levels of ill health and obesity, have lower levels of attention and poorer results in maths and English. “In one of the richest countries on earth, in the 21st Century, it is morally repugnant that any child arrives at school hungry.
“I am delighted that the council has begun a pilot into this service and is now backing my proposal to roll this out to every Hartlepool child by September 2015.
“It is a dramatic and important step in addressing one of the biggest health needs facing our young people.
“Over half of head teachers polled said that the reason some pupils arrive hungry is financial, so making the breakfasts free is crucial to this plan.
“It will, therefore cost and we as a council will need to foot that bill, but I can think of no higher priority than combatting hunger in our children and no better use of public money.
“Hartlepool schools are already doing a great deal in this area and they deserve huge credit. Now the council has set a goal that will build and expand on this great work. “No child in Hartlepool should be hungry and we must fight to end this disgraceful situation.”
It comes as union GMB has called for a political consensus on free school meals for junior school children.
Union officials say free school meals should be extended to junior school children without means testing as this is good for children, good for education and families.
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