A Renfrewshire MP has hailed new figures showing the impact of the free school meals programme on household budgets.

Analysis of new Scottish Government statistics shows how the roll out of free school meals is helping families across Renfrewshire.

Each pupil gets a package worth £427.50 over the school year, providing a free school meal every day they are in attendance at school, with some children also qualifying for support over the holidays.

With over 9,000 children in Primary 1-5 across Renfrewshire, that adds up to nearly £4 million a year worth of school meals for every school age household in the county.

Since January 2015 all children in Primary 1-3 have been entitled to free school meals, with the scheme extended over recent years to cover older children.

Across Scotland the scheme costs just over £80 million in total, with another £80 million invested this year as plans take shape to roll it out to pupils in Primary 6-7, ensuring all primary students are covered.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said the figures were a vindication of the Government’s work.

He said: “These figures show just what a difference the SNP Scottish Government’s free school meals policy is making to families right across Renfrewshire. As someone who benefitted from free school meals in primary school, I know full just how valuable they are.

“While the Tories down south are plunging even more children into deeper and more systemic poverty, our government are investing in our country’s future and giving every child in Renfrewshire

“Combined with the Scottish Child Payment, Best Start programme, Young Carers Payment and the Baby Box, Scotland is giving our children the best possible start in life.

“And at a time when the Tory cost of living crisis is biting harder than ever, every household with primary age children is feeling the benefit in their pocket.

“With expansion to Primary 6 & 7 forthcoming, soon every primary school pupil will get a free, nutritious meal as of right, a fantastic achievement by the Scottish Government at a time when budgets are under pressure as never before.”

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