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Aileen Campbell, SNP MSP for Clydesdale, has today welcomed the introduction of free school meals for all P1-P3 pupils, with 135,000 children expected to benefit and families expected to save at least ?330 per year for every eligible child. The measure is a feature of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 which Campbell led through parliament as Minister for Children and Young People in early 2014.

The move - which is being provided with ?70.5m in revenue funding and ?24.8m in additional capital funding by the Scottish Government - will provide P1-P3 children with guaranteed access to a healthy, nutritious meal and could positively shape children’s eating habits for the rest of their lives. The policy has been supported by campaigning organisations across civic Scotland including Child Poverty Action Group Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, trade unions and Children in Scotland.

Commenting, Ms Campbell said:

"This is a major step forward for how we look after and treat our young people. Giving children a healthy, nutritious meal improves educational attainment and health outcomes too. By supporting our children in their early years we help build healthy habits for life and make sure every child has the chance to learn without being distracted by hunger in the classroom. With the growth of foodbanks we can all see that hunger remains an all too prevalent issue in 21st century Scotland.

"The policy will also be a financial boost to young families who are having to juggle their financial burdens in these difficult economic times - the estimated ?330 saving per child will be very welcome.

"135,000 children will now have access to a warm nutritious meal. This is another example of Scotland investing in our young people to ensure they all receive a fair start in life and it’s a policy I’m proud to have had a part in."

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Aileen Campbell MSP, Kirkton Chambers, 12 Kirkton Street, Carluke ML8 4AB • 01555 750 249 • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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