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Wheelhouse Welcomes Free Meals for Pupils During Summer

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Borders based SNP MSP for South Scotland, Paul Wheelhouse, has welcomed an announced by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, that Scottish school pupils who receive free school meals will continue to get equivalent support throughout the summer holidays.

The UK Government, which is responsible for school meals policy in England, made an embarrassing U-turn on the matter soon after the First Minister’s announcement, following a campaign by English footballer Marcus Rashford.

Commenting, Paul Wheelhouse MSP said:

“I am delighted that the Scottish Government will continue to support the families of school pupils across the Borders through the summer months during this pandemic.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has really hit people’s personal finances hard, and the last thing parents needed was the additional cost of lunches for their kids who are on holiday from school from this month.

“The new funding, worth £27.6 million, will ensure that no Borders pupil who normally gets free meals will risk going without a decent lunch during the holidays, and that no parents or carers are out of pocket as a result of providing it, or having to skip meals themselves."

Every child in Scotland at a local council school can get free school lunches in primary 1, 2 and 3. This applies automatically to all children in these years - a family's financial circumstances do not matter. On top of that, more than one in five Borders pupils in primary 4, 5, 6 and 7 receive free school meals on a means-tested basis.

The plans for summer are slightly different - lower income families will receive a voucher for each child and it's not a universal benefit like it is during term time. Parents or carers of pupils eligible for free school meals will receive cash or vouchers administered by their local authority.

Any parent or carer with a child in P1-3 who is not currently receiving this entitlement during term time should contact SBC.

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