Council votes to scrap school meal debt to 'stop children going hungry'

The move is aimed at helping families dealing with the rising cost of living.

Glasgow City Council votes to scrap school meal debt to ‘stop children going hungry’ iStock

Glasgow City Council has voted unanimously to scrap school meal debt.

The move is aimed at helping families dealing with the rising cost of living and will see debts over the equivalent of one month’s worth of meals cancelled.

The cost will be met with council reserves.

The motion was proposed by SNP councillor Christina Cannon, seconded by the Labour group and received support from both Green and Conservative members.

The plan includes asking council officers to look at updating the school meal debt policy to ensure no child is turned away if they don’t have the money to pay for a school meal.

Cannon, who is the city’s education convener, said there were children going hungry.

In the council’s school survey published this month, more than one in four (27%) of P7 to S6 pupils said they sometimes went to bed or to school hungry.

“No pupil in our schools will ever be refused a school meal and by agreeing to wipe school meal debt we are giving our families a bit of respite so that they can choose to use the money on other household bills and ease their worries,” she said.

“The stark reality is that children and young people are coming to school or going to bed hungry – pupils told us this in our recent health and wellbeing survey and in 2023 no child or young person will go hungry in our schools.

Labour councillor Thomas Rannachan, who seconded the motion, said: “Writing off this debt doesn’t solve all the problems caused by this cost-of-living crisis, but it is a small, meaningful step in the right direction.

“No child should be going to bed hungry, and no one should be going to bed worrying about paying for meals at school.”