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Hungry holidays

School holidays may be a dream for many youngsters and their teachers, but are a nightmare for the poorest families struggling to feed their children.

A report by Barnardo's published yesterday (Thursday) highlights the problem in households across the UK at this time of year from the lack of free school meals. These can be worth pound;25 a week for a family with three children.

With more than 137,000 chiildren receiving free school meals in Scotland, Barnardo's Scotland estimates the Executive would have to pay out more than pound;12 million to provide food benefits during the 13 weeks pupils are off school.

"Poverty really hits children in the school holidays because there are more demands on their parents and less money to meet these demands," Tam Baillie, assistant director of policy at Barnardo's Scotland, says.

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