Dr McLeod commented:
“I warmly welcome today’s announcement, which will help many families who have been suffering in the current tough financial climate. With referrals to the Trussell Trust for food parcels in Scotland at a record high – more than 6,500 children referred between April and September last year – anything we can do to help must be welcome.
“Of course this is not just about helping families during tough times. The measure will also help to encourage our children to eat healthily and in turn help to tackle in the long term the growing problem Scotland has with poor diet and obesity.
“With all of these clear benefits and the support of organisations such as the Child Poverty Action Group, Children in Scotland, The Church of Scotland, Save the Children, The Poverty Alliance, One Parent Families Scotland, Shelter Scotland Children 1st along with trade unions, it is frankly unbelievable that Labour MSPs voted against this measure tonight.
Cllr. Rob Davidson added:
“Dumfries & Galloway Council’s current policy is to offer free school meals to all P1 children and this has shown clear benefits in increasing the uptake of healthy school meals prepared to good nutritional standards. And in our schools we use as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible.
“I believe this is a good way to encourage children to eat healthily as well as helping families. I always hoped that we could extend the free school meals scheme to cover P1 to P3 and this ambition was included in our local manifesto for the last Council elections.
“I am absolutely delighted with today’s announcement. The wide range of support for this policy from national charities and trade unions is equally welcome and clearly emphasises that this is the right thing to do.”