Investing in the future

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SOUTHSIDE youngsters are set to receive free school meals as part of a multi-million pound investment by the Scottish government.

As part of a £114 million package for young people over two years of age, every one of Scotland’s P1-3 children will have the option of a free meal in school from January next year. It is estimated families will save at least £330 a year per child.

Organisations such as Child Poverty Action Group Scotland, Children in Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, the Church of Scotland and trade unions have supported the move.

Cathcart MSP James Dornan told The Extra: “This announcement will make a real difference to the lives of families and young people across my constituency.

“This is an immediate and direct way to support families who are under increasing pressure from continued cuts at Westminster.”

As part of the package, childcare will also expand so that by August 2015, more than 80 million hours will be delivered to pre-school children

An East Renfrewshire council spokeswoman told The Extra: “This new initiative means that all our P1 to P3 children will benefit from a free hot, healthy meal every day. Children who have had a warm and wholesome lunch will learn better and respond better in the classroom.”

However, reader Kirsteen Young, commenting on The Extra’s Facebook page, believes it’s the wrong move.

She said : “Let’s spend the money on cutting class sizes, and providing resources and opportunities which will motivate children to learn, as well as making their time at school fun and worthwhile.”