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Labour’s bold Child Health Action Plan: Ban on caffeinated energy drinks for U16s

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Labour unveils pre-election Child Health Action Plan aimed at mental health, dentistry, obesity, and bans on smoking, junk food ads, and highly caffeinated drinks for minors

To combat 14 years of Tory neglect, Labour Party under the leadership of Keir Starmer has revealed plan to create “healthiest generation of children”, ahead of the general elections.

The broader mission includes shifting NHS focus towards prevention to improve healthy life expectancy and reduce regional health disparities within a decade.

Proposing a Child Health Action Plan aimed at fostering the healthiest generation of children ever, the party has plans to ban the sale of highly caffeinated energy drinks to under-16s.

Addressing concerns from health and education experts about inadequate labeling, drinks with more than 150mg of caffeine per liter will be restricted from retail and online sales to minors, with enforcement through trading standards.

Labour leader underscores the significance of children’s health as a national wellbeing indicator.

He criticises the current government for its short-term approach, which he claims has led to deteriorating health among the nation’s children.

“We want the next generation to be chasing their dreams, not a dentist appointment,” Starmer stated, emphasising the need for comprehensive, long-term planning.

The Child Health Action Plan also aims to cut waiting lists for pediatric services, provide mental health support in schools, and enhance preventative mental health services.

Moreover, Labour plans to fund these initiatives by abolishing tax breaks for private schools and closing non-dom loopholes.

Other key components addressed in the Child Health Action Plan include a crackdown on smoking and vaping, with a progressive ban on smoking and stringent measures to prevent underage vaping, such as banning child-targeted branding and advertising of vapes.

The plan also targets childhood obesity with a 9pm watershed for junk food ads on television and a ban on paid-for online ads aimed at children.

Labour also plans to propose the establishment of free breakfast clubs in all primary schools, ensuring every child starts the day with a healthy meal.

Additionally, the plan addresses the need to protect children from infectious diseases, with measures to enhance NHS services at the community level and digitise health records for better accessibility.

The strategy includes recruiting 8,500 trained staff for CAMHS and NHS talk therapies, and introducing Young Futures hubs for preventative mental health support.

The party’s broader vision includes establishing a national framework to integrate efforts across government, business, and civil society to make this happen.

The Child Health Action Plan is a precursor to Labour’s forthcoming manifesto, representing a commitment to restoring long-term planning and improving health outcomes for children, in stark contrast to what Starmer describes as the Conservative government’s 14 years of neglect.

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