FREE SCHOOL MEALS AND CHILD POVERTY
I was disappointed not to be selected to speak in the recent debate on child poverty and free school meals but I have lodged the Early Day Motion below.
With 30% of children growing up in poverty, tackling this is inextricably linked to closing the attainment gap. Proposed cuts to Universal Credit are set to push another 20,000 children in Scotland into poverty.
Meanwhile the Scottish Government has established Scottish Child Payment of £10 per week per child under 6 years old which the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has described as a “game changing” measure. In addition in the Scottish Government has introduced Child Winter Heating Assistance, using the limited powers it has to tackle child poverty.
Having grown up in poverty myself and having benefited from free school meals throughout my school years, I fully appreciate the importance of extending free school meals to all children who need them.
Therefore, I am delighted that as of August 2022, the Scottish National Party (SNP) The Scottish Government will provide all children in our primary schools will with free school meals, the first nation in the U.K. to do so.
As children cope with school closures, the SNP Government guidance is clear that there must be a range of methods to replace free school meals, including cash, food vouchers or food delivery.
Poverty is a scourge on our society and holds our children back. I believe that we in Scotland can and must build a better, fairer society with the full powers of a normal an independent country.