Experts urge PM to stop councils from selling school playing fields as they fight childhood obesity

Experts said it was absurd the Government was trying to cut obesity by taxing food but forgetting about keeping kids active.

The PM wants to stop Buy One, Get One Free deals on junk food. Yet official figures show the Department for Education allowed 194 playing field disposals since the Tories came to power almost eight years ago.

Councils in Derbyshire, Durham, Wirral, Cumbria and North East Lincs all sold sites.

A study last year revealed 65 local authorities sought permission to sell or transfer 160 acres of school playing fields in 2016. It was more than double the amount from 2015.

Chris Snowdon, of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “The best way of tackling childhood obesity is by encouraging more physical activity.

“But this Government has been selling off playing fields while drawing up disastrous taxes that just push up the cost of household shopping bills.” Helen Griffiths, of the Fields in Trust charity, added: “Access to green space is a vital component of education.”

Half of kids are overweight or obese on leaving primary school in some areas.

The DfE said it had strict controls on playing field disposals and only gave permission if sports needs were still met.

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