Free school meals extended over summer

A report by Kenneth Gibson MSP.

Ahead of the official school holidays, the SNP Government has announced an additional £27.6 million to help feed pupils and other vulnerable people over the summer.

Children eligible for free school meals are among those who will continue to be supported through funding that ensures councils are able to continue with additional 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, vouchers or cash payments to buy meals.

The number of children receiving free food has risen by 53,000 across Scotland since the pandemic began, due to its impact on family incomes and finances.

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.

Councils have the flexibility to use this additional funding to put in place services that meet local needs and circumstances.

This funding also enables councils to support a range of people who may face new or continuing barriers to accessing food, including reduced income caused if they are asked to self-isolate through contact tracing, until the end of September.

For further information, please use freephone 0800 111 4000, or textphone 0800 111 4114 from Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm.

The respondent can help you obtain any day-to-day food required, medication, access to local social work services, emotional support or provide the contact details of local volunteer groups.