School meal debt written off as councillors of all parties agree on action
SCHOOL meal debt in Glasgow is to be written off after councillors unanimously agreed on a decision.
After a Feed the Weans campaign and protests over school meals policy, activists have said the decision is a victory.
Union leaders, however, have called for more action to give even more children free school meals.
Claire Peden, Unite organiser, said: “Unite’s campaign to ‘feed the weans’ has spurred councillors into action to write off school meal debt.
“Unite has been working with parents across Glasgow to build support across the city. Our grassroots activism has paid off but there’s more work to be done.
“Unite for a Workers’ Economy will continue its campaign to end means based ‘free’ school meals and to provide school dinners for all children up to P7.”
The Glasgow Times reported on the plan to write off the debt
SNP, Labour, Green and Conservative councillors backed a motion to write off the debt, believed to be around £300,000.
Christina Cannon, convener for education, said: “No pupil in our schools will ever be refused a school meal and by agreeing to wipe school meal debt we are giving our families a bit of respite so that they can choose to use the money on other household bills and ease their worries.
“The stark reality is that children and young people are coming to school or going to bed hungry – pupils told us this in our recent health and wellbeing survey and in 2023 no child or young person will go hungry in our schools.
“Our families deserve better and that is why we will do everything in our power to deliver for Glasgow’s children and young people.”
Read about how protests took place outside the City Chambers on school meal debt
Thomas Rannachan, Labour councillor, said: “Writing off this debt doesn’t solve all the problems caused by this cost-of-living crisis, but it is a small, meaningful step in the right direction.
“No child should be going to bed hungry, and no-one should be going to bed worrying about paying for meals at school. I’m grateful to the campaigners and activists who helped us get to this point, and hope that households right across our communities will feel the benefit of this.”
Blair Anderson, Greens councillor, said: “Greens have been raising the issue of school meal debt for years, so I’m delighted that Glasgow has now written off our share of that debt.
“I look forward to working constructively with the administration to ensure that no child goes hungry in our schools.”
John Daly, Conservative councillor, said: “By ensuring children are well nourished at school we not only increase their ability to attain but also help all pupils; as incidents of interruption due to challenging behaviours diminish.”