Free school meals to continue over summer break

School meals covid

The Scottish Government has confirmed that extra funding has been allocated to help feed families over the summer 

17th June 2020 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

Free school meals in Scotland will continue throughout the summer holidays.

Children eligible for free school meals will be among those who continue to be supported over the summer through a package of £27.6 million of additional funding from the Scottish Government.

The funding will ensure councils are able to continue the provision of free school meals during the summer holidays and other food provision to help low income families during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The latest data from local authorities shows that around 175,000 children and young people are currently receiving free school meals - or vouchers or cash payments to buy meals.

The number of children receiving free school food has risen by 53,000 since the start of the pandemic due to the impact of lockdown on family incomes and financial circumstances.

The extra funding will also enable councils to continue to support a range of people who may be facing new or continuing barriers to accessing food including due to reduced income caused if they are asked to self-isolate through contact tracing - until the end of September.

This funding is in addition to the overall package of £30 million allocated to councils in March to provide free school meals and offer food provision to key groups during lockdown.

Deputy first minister John Swinney said: “These are challenging times for families and economic uncertainty has added even more pressure on parents already dealing with the stress of this dire Covid-19 crisis.

“We want to ensure families are given the same support through the summer holidays as we provide in term time in recognition of this unprecedented situation. That is why free school meals provision is essential to support families, children and young people who need some extra help at this difficult time.

“This significant additional funding will allow councils to plan for the summer and to continue the existing provision, whether that be offering nutritious free meals for children or through more direct means allowing families to get food for their families. Councils will have the flexibility to ensure they are able to use this additional funding to put in place provision that meets local needs and circumstances.

“£15 million of this funding is being made available to ensure we continue supporting the range of households who have been or may experience difficulty in accessing or affording food during the pandemic. We know that people are under pressure just now as they cope with the impact of Covid-19 and this funding shows we are doing all we can to help them at this difficult time. This funding is additional to the £350 million we have already made available.”

The announcement was welcomed by child poverty groups such as One Parent Families Scotland and CPAG.

A spokesman for the Poverty Alliance said: “We're delighted to hear the First Minister confirm that free school meals will cover the school holidays. This will be a vital support to families across Scotland. We continue to urge local authorities to use cash payments as the most dignified and efficient way to do this.”

17th June 2020 by Lynda Maguire

That's excellent news about the free school meals but that is only for children that are eligible to receive the free lunches. There is a substantial number of disadvantaged children that are in kinship care that do not receive the free school meals or the uniform grant. Many kinship carers fall beneath the radar, providing care under a "family arrangement" that receive no help or subsistence to care for a relative's child or children.