Extension of free school meals welcomed
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THE extension of free school meals to P5 pupils has been welcomed.
From January 10 all children in that year group become eligibly for free meals, with P4s gaining that benefit in August.
Hailing the extension of the free school meal scheme was Buckie SNP councillor Sonya Warren.
She said: "This will be of huge benefit to a great many low income families in Moray and across Scotland.
"For some children it will be the only hot meal – indeed, the only proper meal – they may get a day.
"Families on low incomes and those on Universal Credit have been hit hard by the rising cost of utility bills and the cost of living, which have come on top of reductions in benefits, all of which are making budgeting really challenging. Some families have been left with the awful choice of eating or heating.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville also stressed the importance of providing free school meals.
She continued: “Free school meals are a vital support to thousands of children and young people across the country – ensuring that children have access to a free, healthy and nutritious meal every day they are in school and are ready to engage in learning.
“The provision of £49.75 million in new funding to local authorities demonstrates our support for the health and wellbeing of children and young people and our commitment to reduce the impact of poverty on thousands of families across the country.”
A further £21.75 million will provide targeted free school meal support during school holidays in 2021-22. This started in July for around 145,000 primary and secondary children and young people from low income households.
Councils will determine what approach in school holidays meets local needs and circumstances, which may include the provision of direct payments, vouchers or food parcels.