A survey carried out by Magic Breakfast between November 2021 and March 2022, found that 41% of schools who responded in Scotland have no breakfast provision at all. This compared to 27% in Northern Ireland, 18% in England and 7% in Wales. Of the schools in Scotland who charged for breakfast provision, over half offered some form of free provision. However, this was done on an ad-hoc basis and at the discretion of staff. Uptake of breakfast provision in Scotland is also the lowest of any UK nation, with an average of 22 pupils per school per day accessing provision. This compared to 44 in England, 58 in NI and 75 in Wales.
Despite a previous commitment to provide a free school breakfast and lunch to every P1-P7 pupil in Scotland by August 2022, the SNP failed to even mention free school breakfasts in the 2022/23 Programme for Government. Labour run Wales is currently the only part of the UK which places a duty on local authorities to provide free school breakfasts.
Scottish Labour recognises the tremendous work being done in communities across Scotland, where third sector organisations and parents’ groups are providing breakfasts for children. These valuable programs should be properly supported by the Scottish Government.
Scottish Labour is clear that the SNP Government must keep their promise and bring forward a plan to deliver free school breakfasts for all primary and special schools. Failure to do so would be yet another broken promise from this government to children across Scotland.
Scotland’s children have already faced so much disruption in recent years from the pandemic and the impact of the cost of living. They can’t afford to wait any longer while the SNP push back and sideline their previous promises. Scottish Labour will continue to stand up for Scotland’s children in parliament and hold the Scottish Government to account.