Call to write-off school meal debt in East Dunbartonshire

West Scotland list MSP Ross Greer says more than £8,000 of local school dinner debt should be written off.

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Some families are falling into debt over school lunches

A Freedom of Information Request submitted by the Scottish Greens has found that children and families owe £8736.57 to East Dunbartonshire Council, with the national figure totalling over one million pounds.

This is despite all P1-5 pupils in Scotland now being entitled to a free school meal.

Mr Greer, who is a member of Parliament’s Education Committee, said: “Children can’t get a good education if they’re hungry at school.

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"I believe that East Dunbartonshire Council rightly ensures every pupil has a meal at lunchtime, even if they don’t have the money to cover it, but these figures make it clear that debts are being chased from families who simply can’t pay.

"With the cost of living crisis putting huge pressure on family finances, this is the right time to write off all outstanding school meal debt.

"Pursuing the debt is causing stress and embarrassment for pupils and their families but I know that staff are deeply uncomfortable asking pupils for money they know the family does not have.

“I’m proud we are rolling out free school meals to all primary school children, as well as taking other measures to help family budgets such as free bus travel for under 22s.

"Writing off this debt would be an excellent way to also help families with the financial burdens they face.”