Scot Gov Announces Free School Meals For All Primary School Pupils
Local MSP Gordon MacDonald has welcomed the announcement that every primary school pupil in Edinburgh will be eligible for free school meals, all year around, if the SNP is re-elected in May.
Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, set out this latest step in the drive to tackle child poverty and make Scotland the first nation in the UK to offer universal free primary school meals at the party annual conference this weekend.
The Scottish Government previously extended eligibility for a free school lunch to all P1 to P3 pupils while P4 to P7 pupils are eligible based on a range of income and benefits criteria.
Now, in the face of predictions that Westminster cuts will drive child poverty rates even higher, the expansion - estimated to cost around £230 million per year in additional expenditure - will introduce a free year-round breakfast and lunch for all primary school pupils from August 2022.
MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, Gordon MacDonald, said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has put real financial pressure on families, and it’s right that the Scottish Government ensured that children in Edinburgh would continue to receive free school meals over the holidays.
“But I am happy that we are not stopping there. If the SNP is re-elected in May, every single primary school pupil in Edinburgh will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch, all year round.
“And unlike the UK Government, we didn’t have to be publicly shamed and condemned into choosing to feed hungry children – that is the basic duty of any government.
“This ambitious expansion of the free school meals scheme is the next step in our battle to stop the UK Government forcing more and more kids into poverty, support families, and make Scotland the best place to grow up.
“That progressive vision, underpinned by human rights, equality and wellbeing, is exactly why people in Scotland continue to put their faith in the SNP.”