SNP promises free school meals for all primary students

30 November 2020
The SNP has committed to extending free school meals to all primary aged students if they are re-elected.

Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced to the SNP conference that if the party is returned to office after the Holyrood elections in May, free breakfasts and lunches would be funded for all children in P1-P7.

The proposed scheme would be implemented from August 2022, which would making Scotland the first nation in the UK to offer universal free primary school meals, and is expected to cost £230m a year. 

This announcement matches a commitment from the Scottish Conservatives made in September, while the Scottish Greens have said the policy does not go far enough and should be extended to all High School students as well. You can read more about it here.

This comes on top of a further announcement made at the SNP Conference that low-income families would receive grants of £100 before Christmas. The funding is to help vulnerable families "pay their fuel bills and make sure children don't go hungry" over christmas, and will go to households in receipt of free school meals.

Here at School Food Matters we are really encouraged by these announcements, with Scotland once again leading the way on school food policy. We hope that England will follow Scotland’s lead, but in the meantime we will continue to advocate for an extension to free school meals eligibility, as recommended in the National Food Strategy