How much will Hartlepool schools get from sugar tax fund?

The sugar tax affects the cost of soft drinks
The sugar tax affects the cost of soft drinks

Sixteen schools in Hartlepool are set to benefit from a £56,000 windfall from a sugar tax on the soft drinks industry.

A total of £56,685 is due to be shared between 13 primary schools, one special school, one secondary school and the Pupil Referral Unit.

It is part of the national £100m Healthy Pupils Capital Fund (HPCF) generated from tax paid by the soft drinks industry.

Grants from the fund are intended to improve children’s and young people’s physical and mental health by improving and increasing availability to facilities.

Suggestions for how Hartlepool schools’ grant funding should be used or allocated were discussed by a Schools Capital Sub-group and also the Hartlepool Schools Forum recently.

Department for Education guidance on the fund states: “Responsible bodies have the flexibility to distribute funding based on local priorities and need, but the funding must be used to improve children’s and young people’s physical and mental health by improving and increasing availability to facilities for physical activity, healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing and medical conditions.”

A report on the allocations was discussed by Hartlepool Borough Council’s Children’s Services Committee.

Potential ways the money could be spent include refurbishing or building things like changing rooms, sports halls and gyms, swimming pools and dining spaces; creating or improving garden spaces for growing produce, playgrounds, sports pitches and improving accessibility; or providing equipment such as goalposts, outdoor table tennis tables and defibrillators.

The Hartlepool primary schools that are to receive grants are Hart, Golden Flatts, Lynnfield, Fens, Kingsley, St Helen’s, Throston, Clavering, Barnard Grove, Rift House, Rossmere, Grange, and Greatham.

High Tunstall College of Science is to receive the largest grant at £15,844, while Springwell School and the Pupil Referral Unit will are also included.

The council will be required to report on how it has spent the monies.

Academy trusts and sixth form colleges have also had the chance to bid for funding.

The sugar tax was introduced by the government to help tackle rising childhood obesity levels.

The Department for Education says it has already resulted in over half of manufacturers reducing the sugar content of drinks since it was announced in March 2016.