Alyn Smith MEP, Scotland’s representative on the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, has expressed disappointment that children will miss out on the EU’s School Fruit Scheme (SFS) for the seventh year in a row.
The SFS is a Europe-wide scheme provide schoolchildren with free fruit and vegetables, funded to the tune of €150m and distributed to more than 8 million children and 54,000 participating schools.
“It’s frustrating that the UK Treasury’s obsession with reducing UK receipts from the UK budget to artificially boost the rebate – a rebate that goes to the Treasury and not the people of Scotland – means that Scotland’s children will miss out on a genuinely great initiative.
“There are 14 million overweight children in the EU, and the per person per day consumption of fruit, at 219g, is well below the WHO recommendation of 400g. Providing easy access to fruit in schools is the perfect way to get young people into the habit of getting their five a day.
“Italy and France will receive €27m and €15m respectively for the financial year 2015/16, but the UK's opt-out means that children in the UK will receive nothing from this scheme.
“This is a short-sighted decision by the Treasury and our children will pay the price."