22 November 2019

Scottish Labour will fund free meals for all children in Scotland for the entirety of their time in primary and secondary education.

This announcement comes at a time where 1 in every 4 children in Scotland are living in poverty.

This policy would benefit about 700,000 children currently enrolled in Scotland's primary, secondary and special educational schools.

Scottish Labour have committed to an increase of £190 million per annum to fund the additional free school meals required while investing a further £25 million in the infrastructure and services necessary to deliver the policy.

In addition to free school meals during term time, Scottish Labour is committing to fund the extension of holiday and weekend provision at a cost of £41 million per annum.

This extension will provide a free meal for all 365 days a year, not merely when children are at school but also during term time.

Evidence from trials in Labour controlled North Lanarkshire Council has shown that free school meals result in an improvement in children's health, wellbeing and educational attainment.

The announcement comes after Scottish Labour's unveiling of our 10 point plan to tackle and eradicate child poverty across Scotland.

Commenting on the policy, Richard Leonard said:

"It cannot be right that in the fifth biggest economy in the world, one in every four children in Scotland is living in poverty.

“After a decade of Tory austerity and SNP complacency, it is time for real and radical change.

"For too long, many kids from the most impoverished families have gone to school hungry and been automatically disadvantaged simply due to their family's economic circumstances.

“But it’s not enough to only provide free school meals to those on low incomes.

“We need a plan that tackles the stigma that can prevent some children accessing free meals and the barriers that we know eligibility and registration create.

"That is why I am proud to announce today that a UK Labour government will provide the funds for a free meal for every child 365 days a year, regardless of their social and economic backgrounds.

“Children should not be put in a position where they are left behind through no fault of their own and through no fault of their family.

“Scottish Labour will end the scourge of child poverty once and for all."
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