Sharon McDougall - 29th March 2022 - 2 minutes to read
Calls are being made for debts owed for school dinners across Scotland to be cancelled to ease some of the financial pressures on struggling families.
Debts accumulated in relation to unpaid fees for school dinners have stacked up to over £1 million in areas across Scotland, with the money owed to local councils.
Now the Scottish Greens are leading calls for those debts to be written off as a means of providing some relief to low-income families across the country.
“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,” said Ross Greer, education spokesperson for the Scottish Greens.
“Most councils will rightly ensure 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,” he added.
Mr Greer went on to say that for a lot of parents who are struggling to pay for their children’s school meals it is stressful and embarrassing to be pursued for the debts they owe.
The argument being made by the Scottish Greens is that writing off school dinner debts would be a good and easy way for the government to offer support to hard-pressed families, many of whom are dealing with other forms of debt and finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.
Many children in Scotland are already in receipt of free school meals, which can be claimed by parents on Universal Credit, Income Support or Job Seeker’s Allowance.
From April 2022, families that receive Scottish Child Payments will see their incomes boosted as those payments are increased from £10 per week to £20 per week, per child.
Plans to increase those support payments for low income families were announced by the Scottish government last year as part of a broader effort to provide some financial help to households whose energy bills are soaring and whose everyday living costs are also rising sharply.
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