Free school meals to benefit over 100,000 pupils


SNP MSP Aileen Campbell has welcomed today’s vote
in the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee which will allow free school
meals to be extended to an estimated 118,000 pupils from 2010.

The legislation to extend free school meals to all
P1 to P3 children passed despite the failure of all opposition parties to
support the proposals. 

Speaking after the Committee vote South of Scotland
MSP Aileen Campbell said;

“With estimates showing 118,000 additional pupils
will benefit from free school meals as a result of today’s vote this is
excellent news for Scotland’s children. 

“The failure of opposition parties to vote for
today’s legislation shows where their priorities really lie.

“This was a
disgraceful vote by the Lib Dems – possibly their worst act in the Parliament
since devolution.

“We expect Tories not to care about improving the health of
Scotland’s children, and not to care about combating poverty.  But people will
be astonished that the Lib Dem MSP on the committee voted with the Tory to take
the food from the mouths of Scotland’s children. 

“This shows just how right wing and out of touch
the Lib Dems have become – no wonder they lost their deposits in Glasgow East
and Glenrothes.

“As for
Labour – despite evidence from charities, trade unions and anti-poverty groups
across Scotland, including Labour Councillors that this policy will play a key
role in improving children’s education, health and well being  - their failure
to support the extension of free school meals speaks volumes about Labour’s

“With 90,000 children in poverty currently excluded
from free school meals the SNP’s actions will not only improve health but will
take steps to tackle poverty across the country. 

“As the pilot schemes showed free school meals are
popular and successful with children, parents and teachers. Today’s decision is
an excellent step for Scotland’s school pupils.”