SNP hit out at drop in school meals uptake following massive price hikes

The SNP has condemned Falkirk Council’s Labour / Tory Coalition Administration for a significant drop in the number of Primary School children taking school meals.

When the SNP left office in 2007 63% of Primary School children took school meals but this figure has dropped to 56.8% in 2011.

Meanwhile the national trend is in the opposite direction whereby in 2007 the figure nationally was 46% that rose to 51.9% in 2011.

The SNP blame dramatic increases in the price of school meals in recent Labour / Tory budgets, where the price of healthy option school meals have increased by 70% since the current administration came to power in 2007, Previously under the SNP Falkirk Council had the highest uptake of school meals in Scotland with the lowest price.

SNP Education spokesperson, Cllr Tom Coleman said,

“These figures and extremely worrying, particularly when compared to national trends.

During the period of the SNP / Independent Administration we kept the price of the healthy option school lunch at the lowest level for very good reasons.

It is important that young children get into good habits early in terms of a healthy diet particularly as we face an obesity time-bomb according to experts.”

The Nationalists believe that the figures are actually worse than indicated by Education Officials because of the rise in children entitled to free school meals. Mr Coleman explained,

“Between 2007 and 2011 the take up of free school meals rose from 97% to 99.7% with more children qualifying for free school meals due to Scottish Government policies of extending the number of children entitled to free school meals as well as the impact of the recession where unemployment has doubled therefore many more children qualify for free school meals has skewed the figures.

What we therefore have  is a significantly higher drop in the number of pupils who have to pay taking up the option of eating in school.

The main beneficiaries of this short-sighted Labour / Tory policy are the fast food outlets and snack vans where healthy options are limited.

Labour and their Tory allies are therefore contributing to the so called obesity time-bomb with their short sighted policy of hiking the price of health option meals.

They may talk the talk about healthy options and tackling obesity but they don’t walk the walk”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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