The conversation surrounding free school meals has become a hot topic of late across the country.
Just last week, East Renfrewshire Council was forced to admit that standards fell short in a “small number of cases” following complaints over its food packs delivered to families during lockdown.
Pictures were shared online of its food parcels, with one parent complaining about a delivery that included almost out-of-date rolls and noodles that looked “like plastic”.
Jackson Carlaw, the MSP for Eastwood and former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has since written to the council following a number of complaints from constituents and is calling for the local authority to move to a supermarket voucher system.
East Renfrewshire Council and East Ayrshire Council are the only two local authorities in Scotland not offering voucher or cash alternatives to food deliveries during the stricter lockdown restrictions.
The recent outcry in Scotland follows similar complaints in England in which a £30 food parcel was estimated to contain just more than £5 worth of food.
Campaigners – including Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford and food writer Jack Monroe – have spearheaded the call for better school meals, with many arguing councils should provide vouchers instead.
Schools across Scotland are currently closed to the majority of pupils until at least February 1.
Children of key workers and vulnerable youngsters are still able to attend, however all others have been learning remotely since their return after the Christmas break.
On Friday, education secretary John Swinney warned that the reopening of schools on February 1 was a “tall order” and it was too “premature” to give a definitive view on when pupils can return to the classroom.
The Scottish Government is expected to formally announce when schools will reopen at Holyrood on Tuesday.
Ahead of the announcement, here is a list of what parents and guardians from each council area across Scotland receive as a replacement for free school meals.
Council spend on free school meals
- Aberdeen City Council: Voucher, £2.50 a day
- Aberdeenshire Council: Cash, £2.50 a day
- Angus Council: Cash, £2.20 a day
- Argyll and Bute Council: Cash, £3 a day
- Clackmannanshire Council: Cash, £2.30 a day
- Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council): Cash, £4 a day
- Dundee City Council: Cash, £2.25 a day
- Dumfries and Galloway Council: Cash, amount not specified
- East Ayrshire Council: Food pack
- East Dunbartonshire Council: Cash, £4 a day
- East Lothian Council: Cash, £2.30 a day
- East Renfrewshire Council: Food pack
- Edinburgh City Council: Cash, £2.25 a day
- Falkirk Council: Cash, £3.50 a day
- Fife Council: Cash, £2.30 a day
- Glasgow City Council: Cash, £2.50 a day
- Highland Council: Voucher, £3 a day
- Inverclyde Council: Cash, £2.50 a day
- Midlothian Council: Cash, £2.20 a day for primary pupils, £2.40 a day for secondary students
- Moray Council: Cash, £2.30 a day for primary pupils, £2.40 a day for secondary students
- North Ayrshire Council: Voucher, £4 a day
- North Lanarkshire Council: Voucher, £3 a day
- Orkney Islands Council: Cash, £3 a day
- Perth and Kinross Council: Cash, £2.30 a day
- Renfrewshire Council: Cash, £2.25 a day
- Scottish Borders Council: Did not respond
- Shetland Islands Council: Cash, £3 a day
- South Ayrshire Council: Cash, £3 a day
- South Lanarkshire Council: A mixture of cash and vouchers, £3 a day
- Stirling Council: Cash, £2.40 a day
- West Dunbartonshire Council: Cash, £2.45 a day
- West Lothian Council: Cash, £3 a day
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