Free meals for primary kids proposal

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A MOTION calling on Glasgow city council to provide free school meals to P1-3 children will be submitted in city chambers tomorrow (Thursday).

The proposal was first lodged and defeated in February by SNP councillor Norman MacLeod, shadow city treasurer and opposition spokesman on finance.

Councillor MacLeod said this week’s motion “will allow a detailed proposal to implement this policy from the city’s Labour administration.

“I am not concerned as to who gets the credit, so long as all of Glasgow’s youngest pupils get a healthy school lunch.”

The motion features material from the Child Poverty Action Group Scotland (CPAG), stating a positive link between free school meal provision and tackling child poverty levels.

However, Labour councillor Stephen Curran, executive member for education and young people, opposes the move. He told The Extra: “The council already provides free breakfasts and free lunches to the children who need it.

“The millions of pounds that this proposal would cost would mean massive cuts in all our schools. We would have to cut 95 teachers or 200 pupil support assistants to pay for it.”

Commenting on the Extra’s Facebook page, Vonnie Sandlan called it “a great idea — our council has a duty of care to ensure all children are having a nutritious meal. A blanket policy of feeding all P1-3s removes any stigma.”

But Annemarie McGregor argued that the scheme “should be means tested”, and Claire Easther Haigh said: “Can’t they just lower the overall price? I’ve got two kids and I can’t afford school meals.”

Stephen Morrison added that the money should be spent on “nutrition education for pupils and parents, to benefit all children and families”.

For more of your views, pick up a copy of this week’s Extra — out tomorrow. To have your say, email Gillian (address above) or visit us at Facebook or Twitter.