SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has today condemned Labour MSP Elaine Murray’s decision to vote against the Scottish Government’s decision to provide healthy free school meals to all pupils
As part of a £114 million package for young people over two years, every one of Scotland’s P1 to P3 children will have the option of a free meal in school from January next year, improving health and wellbeing, increasing attainment and saving families at least £330 a year for each child.
The announcement was warmly welcomed by a coalition of children’s charities who have been campaigning for this policy.
Based on the latest available figures, around 4’387 pupils in Dumfries and Galloway are eligible to benefit from free school meals.
The First Minister also announced that free childcare provision would also be expanded to every two year-old from a workless household in Scotland – around 8,400 children or 15 per cent of all two year-olds – by August this year.
And by August next year, free childcare provision will be extended further, reaching 15,400 children – 27 per cent of all two year-olds – by widening entitlement to families that received certain welfare benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance.
However, Labour MSPs this week voted against the policy in the Scottish Parliament – to reactions of incredulity in the Chamber.
Ms McAlpine has now called on Ms Murray to explain to the people of Dumfries and Galloway how her vote against this policy will benefit local kids.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“This week’s debate completely exposed Labour’s narrow partisan agenda. In their determination to attack everything proposed by the SNP, Elaine Murray ended up voting against policies which Labour themselves have claimed to support.
“But that is of course exactly what they were doing – and now they have to explain their actions to the coalition of charities which has campaigned for this policy.
“I was proud to vote for the rollout of healthy free school meals to all children in Primaries 1 to 3, and a significant expansion of childcare provision.
“Labour’s shambolic actions this week show once again that only the powers of independence offer us the chance to build on this to make a truly transformational change.”
Notes: For more details on this week’s Scottish Government announcements see
For details of the Scottish Parliament vote, see:
Campaigners welcome First Minister’s universal free school meals announcement