COLIN BEATTIE: “LOCAL WORKING FAMILIES SAVING £450 PER CHILD THANKS TO SNP FLAGSHIP POLICY”
The number of primary aged pupils receiving free schools meals in Midlothian has risen from 15.7% to 52.8% and in East Lothian from 11.3% to 49% in the last decade saving working families hundreds of pounds a year, according to new analysis.
The latest figures, released by the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe), show that nationally just over 53% of primary pupils were registered for free school meals in 2019 – a substantial jump from 2009 when just 16.7% of kids were registered.
The SPICe analysis has also estimated that local families are saving £450 a year for each child, thanks to the SNP’s commitment to extend free school meals for more pupils across Scotland.
In 2015, the SNP Government introduced free school meals for all pupils in primary 1 to 3 – with evidence showing initiatives like this can help close the education attainment gap while improving the performance of children from low income backgrounds.
The number of secondary pupils registered for free schools in Midlothian has also steadily increased in the last decade – rising from 11.6% in 2009 to 13% in 2019 and in East Lothian from 7.9% to 8.3%.
Welcoming the news, SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, Colin Beattie said:
“Free school meals are an important part of ensuring that every child gets the best start in life but it’s also a huge financial help to working families.
“This policy has been a huge relief for many families across Midlothian and East Lothian at a time where household budgets are tight – saving parents over £450 a year for each child.
“While the SNP’s commitment to double the provision of free childcare for all three and four year olds is also saving young families around £4,500 a year.
“There’s still a lot to do in reducing poverty and inequality in Scotland – but progressive policies like this are keeping more cash in the pockets of hard working families here in Midlothian and East Lothian.”