Funds of up to £415 million could be available towards new sports facilities at schools – with money coming from the new “sugar tax” set to be introduced next year.

Schools will be able to bid for the money, which will be distributed based on a formula between local authorities or multi-academy trusts, who will decide how to spend the money.

The plans for the Healthy Pupils Capital Programme and Healthy Pupils Capital Fund, for schools in smaller trusts, standalone trusts and sixth form centres are designed to help improve the health of young people, encouraging a healthier diet and more exercise in a bid to tackle obesity and related health problems including type 2 diabetes.

Primary, secondary and sixth form colleges will be able to use the money for facilities to support PE, after-school activities and healthy eating.

The government added that facilities should be able to support children with physical conditions, or support young people struggling with mental health issues.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said the money would help “secure the future health of our young people. Schools can really help our children get a healthy start in life from exercise and sport, and also from knowing what a healthy diet means. It’s not only good for them while they’re in education, but the health and wellbeing benefits can last a lifetime.”

The Government has estimated that the tax on sugar drinks could bring in £1.2 billion over two years from April 2018. In addition to funding for PE and sports at schools there will also be funds available for breakfast clubs and universal infant free school meals.

The Government has also pledged the funding will not fall below £415 million regardless of the cash generated by the levy.

Read the Department of Health’s guide Childhood obesity: a plan for action

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