Monica’s Disappointment Over Delayed Free School Meal Plan

Monica has expressed her disappointment to the Scottish Government for delaying making universal free school meals available to all primary school pupils by August 2022.

Unveiling his first Programme for Government since becoming First Minister, Humza Yousaf confirmed that the delayed rollout of free lunches would not reach all primary 6 and 7 classes until 2026. All children in primary 1 through to primary 5 are entitled to free lunches, with means testing in place for older children.

Scotland had led the way on the provision of universal free school meals but has now fallen behind other parts of Britain. Under a scheme launched by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, all children in state primary schools are now eligible for universal free school meals.

Monica commented:

“Children and their families in Lanarkshire were promised access to free school meals on a universal basis by Nicola Sturgeon but the scheme hit delays

“Now her successor Humza Yousaf is making children in P6 and P7 wait until 2026, five years after the Scottish Government announced that all primary school children would be entitled to free school meals.

“The pilot scheme promised in secondary schools last year has not materialised.

“During the worst cost-of-living crisis we have seen in generations, the expansion of universal free school meals should be prioritised and accelerated, not slowed down.

“Children, their families and local councils deserve an explanation from the First Minister as to why his government is breaking its promises, especially when other political leaders like the Mayor of London have been able to prioritise and children for their communities.”

Monica Lennon is an MSP for the Central Scotland Region. In 2021, she passed the ground-breaking Period Product (Scotland) Act. Follow her on Twitter for recent updates.