23 December 2018

Over 28,000 primary school age children could face ‘holiday hunger’ over the festive break, new analysis from Labour suggests.

The party has analysis data behind North Lanarkshire Council’s groundbreaking ‘Club 365’ scheme, which offers free school meals all year round.

The uptake figures suggest that, across Scotland, 28,059 primary school age children may face holiday hunger this Christmas.

The figure for all of Scotland’s children will likely be even higher when taking pre-school and secondary school children into account.

Labour said the figures should prompt serious changes in the draft Scottish budget, which was criticised by anti-poverty charities as a ‘missed opportunity.’

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:

“It’s simply unacceptable that in a rich country like Scotland children will face holiday hunger over the Christmas and New Year break. That should make clear that Tory austerity has failed compressively.

“In North Lanarkshire, the Labour run council are taking ground breaking steps to tackle the scourge of holiday hunger, with the Club 365 scheme offering free school meals every day of the year.

“This scheme should be rolled out across the country as part of a wider commitment to eradicating poverty from our society.

“The draft Scottish budget, as it stands, is a missed opportunity to tackle poverty.

"Derek Mackay should look at these figures and deliver significant changes, such as an end to the £319million worth of cuts he plans to force on local councils, and a commitment to finally start using the powers over social security in this parliament to increase child benefit and protect people from the two-child cap on tax credits.”



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