Free school meals

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 @ 9:44PM

The Liberal Democrats have announced that from next September all children in English schools from 5-7 years old will be eligible for free school meals, regardless of their family’s income.

This is a fine aspiration, though I’m inclined to think this is more about electoral positioning than any ideological commitment.

Like some in the voluntary sector, I question that doing so would help those most in need of support. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said today universal school meal pilots haven’t yet evidenced improvement in educational attainment for the most disadvantaged kids.

So given that Scotland will receive around £60m in Barnett consequentials – a pretty sizeable sum, equivalent to the cost of more than 14 million hours of nursery care for families – will the SNP choose to spend it in a way that truly targets struggling families and disadvantaged children in Scotland, based on the evidence, and not on headline-seeking election policies that completely miss the mark?


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