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Glasgow City Council

Council agrees to wipe school meal debt to help Glasgow's families

Published Thursday 30 March 2023

School meal debt in Glasgow schools will be written off after a decision taken today - Thursday 030 March - by all councillors in the city.

Families have been given the financial helping hand in a move to support people who are struggling to make ends meet in the current cost-of-living crisis.

The Full Council motion - proposed by Councillor Christina Cannon, City Convener for Education, Communities & Equalities, SNP and seconded by the Labour Party - will see any families' debt cancelled that is over and above the equivalent of one month's worth of meals in line with COSLA guidance.

Writing off the current city-wide school meal debt will be met by Council reserves.

The move is seen as an additional way of helping to meet the financial pressures and challenges that many are facing and especially those families whose children just miss out on meeting the criteria for free school meals.

The plan includes asking officers to look at updating the school meal debt policy in the city which will see no child turned away if they don't have the means to pay for a school meal.

Councillor Christina Cannon, City Convener for Education has thanked council for the cross-party support and said: "No one is able to escape the effects of the cost-of-living crisis and we want to do all that we can to ease some pressures we know our families are experiencing.

"This is especially true of our families who are just coping and who don't meet the free school meal eligibility criteria but are facing difficult choices.

"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."

The council motion was seconded by Councillor Thomas Rannachan, Glasgow Labour Party and he said: "I am really delighted that, through cross-party working, we are writing off School Meal Debt across the City. 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."

Councillor Blair Anderson, Scottish Greens 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."

Councillor John Daly, Scottish Conservatives said: "We in the Conservative group gladly support the motion today as step towards alleviating cost of living pressures but also improving attainment outcomes as a result not only for these children but all children.

"By ensuring children are well nourished at school we not only increase their ability to attain but also for all pupils; as incidents of interruption due to challenging behaviours diminish."


View the council motion here


Published Thursday 30 March 2023

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