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UNION WELCOMES NEW REPORT BACKING FREE SCHOOL MEALS BILL

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Unison has welcomed the publication of a new report backing the School Meals (Scotland) Bill which is to be debated...
Unison has welcomed the publication of a new report backing the School Meals (Scotland) Bill which is to be debated in the Scottish parliament later this week.

Unison is supporting the bill to deliver a free school meal to all children, and welcomed the report The case for the School Meals (Scotland) Bill: The health of our children the future of our country, by former HEBS director Dr David Player.

Matt Smith, Scottish secretary of Unison said: 'Unison believes that we should establish a child's right to a free, healthy and nutritious meal, and it is good that the Player Report is supporting this position. Unison members, who deliver school meals and are the key to their success, tell us that the current system of free meals still has a stigma attached. Indeed 20% of kids entitled to them do not take them. The School Meals Bill will remove stigma and allow pupils from low-paid families who are not currently entitled to free meals to benefit. It will also take an important first step in tackling Scotland's poor health record.'

Recent Unison-commissioned research across the UK revealed massive price variation in Scottish schools: from 95p to£1.70.

'The price of school meals has risen ahead of inflation over the last six years,' said Mr Smith. 'This Bill would end the huge price variation ensuring all children are able to access decent food regardless of their ability to pay'.

At the launch of the Player Report, Unison highlighted how free school meals would help develop social skills in children, improve social inclusion, have massive health benefits, and create employment opportunities.

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