SCOTTISH Labour has brought forward plans for free school meals during the summer holidays through a summer catch-up clubs programme.

The party’s leader, Anas Sarwar said the summer catch-up club would be available to all primary and secondary pupils, claiming it would potentially benefit around 700,000 children currently enrolled in Scotland’s education system.

Around a quarter of children in Scotland live in relative poverty and holiday hunger remains an issue for many – as some young people only receive nutritious meals when they go into school.

Mr Sarwar has pointed to the SNP only committing to providing free school meals to primary school pupils during the summer holidays. As part of the SNP’s budget deal with the Greens, the phased introduction of free school meals to all primary school children by August 2022 was agreed.

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The Labour leader added that his proposals would give older pupils the same opportunities as their younger counterparts to access the support they need.

Mr Sarwar said: “This pandemic has thrown the existing inequalities in our society into sharp relief.

“Around a quarter of children in Scotland live in relative poverty – that is a scandal.

“We know that while many children continue to enjoy daily nutritional meals throughout the summer, many are left to go hungry.”

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He added: “By introducing summer meal clubs for all of Scotland’s school pupils, Scottish Labour will put the fight against child poverty and holiday hunger at the heart of our national recovery plan.

“We cannot, and we must not, return to the old inequalities after this pandemic.

“This ambitious policy can ensure that no child goes hungry over the summer holidays.”