Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Energy Drinks - A Monster problem for our schoolchildren?

You will have seen them, every morning on our streets, children walking to school.

What you don't realise is that that walk is hiding a secret which is causing significant problems in our schools.

You see that walk for many of our children, some at primary school, are having a breakfast of energy drinks - many of which contain excessive amounts of caffeine.

It's a problem which for some time now doctors have been warning about.

Those large cans of energy drinks, such as Monster Energy, that we see our children drinking not only contain up to 270 calories a serving but also, perhaps more worringly, contain the same amount of caffeine as 14 normals cans of fizzy pop.

Doctors in America have warned that high caffeine energy drinks could be responsible for "seizures, mania, stroke and sudden death".

Our own Food Standards Agency say such drinks are "as safe as any other drinks for adults to consume in moderation".

And even the soft drinks industry are placing labels on cans stating that energy drinks are not suitable for children.

But regrettably children are drinking them and their effects are manifesting themselves in behaviour in schools across North West Leicestershire.

One local headteacher has confirmed that they believe children drinking these drinks is having a direct result in reducing concentration and increasing manic behaviour.

Indeed the same headteacher believes that it was excessive intake of these drinks that have caused at least one pupil to be suspended.

Many schools have banned children drinking energy drinks on site.

But the problem is that despite the evidence and the warnings shops are selling such drinks to children on their way to school.

Today I will be contacting council officers to ask them to investigate this growing problem and look into the possibility of a voluntary code of conduct for retailers to stop selling these drinks to our children.

I will keep you informed.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Leveson Inquiry

Lord Justice Leveson has published his report into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. His detailed and thorough inquiry was commissioned following the news in 2011 that Milly Dowler’s phone had been hacked. It heard evidence from hundreds of witnesses including many victims of abuse by the press, like the parents of Madeleine McCann.

In his report Lord Justice Leveson has proposed a new genuinely independent regulator of the press, with effective powers to protect the victims of abuse. He gives the responsibility for establishing this system to the press, but calls for a new law to ensure that this new system meets minimum requirements.

The Labour Party supports the recommendations of the Leveson Report and believes they should be implemented swiftly.

On behalf of every decent British citizen who wants protection for people like the Dowlers. Who wants a truly free press. A press that can expose abuse of power without abusing its own. We must act."

If you agree with Labour and thousands of others from all walks of life you can sign the Hacked Off petition calling for full implementation of Leveson by clicking here.