Wed 17 Feb, 2021

We need an urgent commitment to solutions like extending free school meals Patrick Harvie

The First Minister must commit now to universal solutions to tackle rising poverty, the Scottish Greens have said.

At First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie MSP raised concerns from charities that vital food relief in school holidays in Glasgow is not reaching everyone who needs it

One example, Children’s Wood, which runs a holiday club for children in Maryhill, has not received funding.

Patrick Harvie said: “The picture of hundreds of people queuing in the snow for emergency food, in Glasgow’s George Square last week, is an indictment of the failure to tackle poverty and hunger in Scotland. For example, the charities which carry out vital food relief in school holidays in Glasgow have warned that the funding isn’t getting to where it’s needed.

“On top of this we know fewer than half of those eligible for the Scottish Child Payment have applied. We need an urgent commitment to solutions like extending free school meals. It's simply not good enough for the First Minister to say let's wait till after May's election; if she recognises the urgency of this crisis she will fund school meals now, instead of offering a manifesto pledge of jam tomorrow.”

Mr Harvie also repeated the Greens’ call for teachers to be prioritised for vaccinations.

“The First Minister has made it clear that returning schools to normal will, rightly, be the first priority. To do this, we first need to talk about how we keep teachers and support staff safe. Doesn’t it stand to reason that, if reopening schools is a high priority, then vaccinating the staff who allow those schools to function must be a priority too?”

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