Labour wants catch-up clubs with free meals for pupils

Anas Sarwar said up to 700,000 children would benefit from the plan.

Labour wants catch-up clubs with free meals for pupils PA via PA Media
Sarwar: Calling for free meals over summer for school pupils.

All pupils should benefit from free meals during the summer holidays through catch-up clubs, Scottish Labour says.

Party leader Anas Sarwar said up to 700,000 children would benefit from free meals as they would be open to both primary and secondary school pupils.

The SNP has already promised to provide free breakfasts and lunches to all primary children throughout the year if re-elected in May.

Labour says its proposal would tackle “holiday hunger”, while giving older pupils the same opportunities as their younger counterparts to access support to recover from the pandemic.

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On Wednesday, Labour said its policy of extending free meal entitlement to high school pupils would cost around £4.5m a year, with take-up expected to be roughly 10% of pupils.

Sarwar said: “This pandemic has thrown the existing inequalities in our society into sharp relief.

“Around a quarter of children in Scotland live in relative poverty – that is a scandal.

“And we know that while many children continue to enjoy daily nutritional meals throughout the summer, many are left to go hungry.

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“By introducing summer meal clubs for all of Scotland’s school pupils, Scottish Labour will put the fight against child poverty and holiday hunger at the heart of our national recovery plan.

“We cannot, and we must not, return to the old inequalities after this pandemic.

“This ambitious policy can ensure that no child goes hungry over the summer holidays.”