Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the announcement that every primary school pupil in the Western Isles 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 SNP annual conference this weekend.
The SNP 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.
Alasdair Allan MSP commented:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put real financial pressure on families, and it’s right that the Scottish Government ensured that children in the islands would continue to receive free school meals over the holidays.
“But we should not stop there. If the SNP is re-elected in May, every single primary school pupil in the Western Isles will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch, all year round.
“And unlike the Tories, 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 Tories 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.”