SNP pledges free year-round breakfast and lunch for all Scottish primary pupils
Every primary school pupil will receive a free breakfast and lunch all year round if the SNP are re-elected in May, John Swinney announced today.
Speaking at the SNP’s virtual conference, the Education Secretary revealed the party’s latest step to tackle child policy, which would come into force in 2022.
The extension of the policy – which is currently only available to children in primary one to three – to include all those in P1-7 would make Scotland the first UK nation to offer universal free primary school meals.
In his speech to conference, Swinney said: “The callous cuts to welfare imposed by the Conservatives are bad enough. But we now face a tsunami of child poverty if the Tory chancellor imposes a second wave of austerity. Scotland’s children cannot afford that.
“This is not just an issue for the very poorest. This is an issue for working families, forced to feed children from foodbanks or go hungry themselves.
“Right now, all P1 to P3 pupils are entitled to free school lunches. Given what I fear we are facing from the Tories, we will not leave a child at the mercy of a Tory chancellor just because they are in P4, P5, P6 or P7.
“If elected next May, from 2022 we will extend universal free school lunches to all primary school pupils, P1 to P7.
“We want every child to have every chance to learn every minute of every school day, starting from the moment they arrive in class. So, we will also extend free provision of a healthy breakfast to all primary school pupils as well.”
Swinney said that one of the lessons of 2020 has been that providing free meals to children during term-time alone is not enough, which is why this new policy would run all-year round.
“Hunger doesn’t take a holiday and so neither can we,” he said.
“If re-elected we will extend free school meals through every school holidays.
“All primary school pupils. All classes. All year round.”