Scottish government to fund free meals over holidays

The funding will cover all holidays this school year, with councils also able to claim for free school meal services run over the October break

Emma Seith

Scottish government to fund free meals over holidays

The Scottish government has announced that over £10 million is to be made available to councils so they can continue to provide free school meals over the holidays this school year.

Making the announcement at the Scottish government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Shirley-Anne Somerville, the cabinet secretary for social security, said that the money would be used to fund free school meals over Christmas, the February break and Easter, with reimbursements available for local authorities who provided provision over the October holiday.

Background: Free school meals to continue this summer in Scotland

England: Labour urges action on Rashford's school meals campaign

Related: Cash call for free school meal families

Ms Somerville said: “This important investment will support around 156,000 children and young people, helping families meet the cost of meals over the school holidays.

“It will be for local authorities to decide how this support is delivered. However, we continue to advocate for a cash-first approach where appropriate, giving families the choice of what food they buy and where they buy it.”

A further £28 million will be handed to local authorities to deal with “financial insecurity”, with councils able to decide how they spend the increase.

The UK government has come under pressure to fund free school meals in England over the holidays this year, after a petition was launched by the England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.

Mr Rashford successfully campaigned for free school meals to be provided in England over the summer holidays.

In Scotland, children eligible for free meals also continued to receive them over the summer.

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Emma Seith

Emma Seith

Emma Seith is a reporter for TES Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Emma_Seith

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