Praise for free meals that save parents nearly £400 a year

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More than 5,000 youngsters in East Dunbartonshire will get free school meals, saving parents on tight budgets hundreds of pounds per year.

Local MSPs Rona Mackay and Gil Paterson this week praised the move, claiming this level of provision will help tackle child poverty across Scotland.

The SNP government has doubled the delivery of free school meals in the last three years, with all primary 1-3 pupils provided for.

A total of 4,327 primary school children are eligible for free school meals, of which 3,843 are in in P1, 2 or 3.

Of the 7,295 secondary school pupils, 579 are to receive free school meals, and 102 in special schools.

Ms Mackay, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to eradicating child poverty — and free school meals are one block in this massive task.

“In East Dunbartonshire, thousands of our youngest children are guaranteed a healthy meal during the school day, a meal that helps save families around £380 per year per child.

“Every child needs the best start to life as possible, and this is one of the reasons I got into politics in the first place, to help children and young people.”

MSP Gil Paterson, who represents Clydebank and Milngavie, added: “The scourge of child poverty needs to be brought to an end, and giving free school meals to children is an excellent way to ease the financial burden on disadvantaged families”.