More than 5447 children across West Lothian will benefit from extra funding to extend free school meals over the Christmas and Easter holidays.

£10 million has been made available by the SNP Government so that councils can continue providing free school meals through the winter breaks with future funding confirmed to extend support over Easter.

Last week, Conservative MPs voted rejected a plan to extend free school meals into the school holidays, arguing that it was not the job of schools to “regularly provide food during the school holidays”.

Local MSP Fiona Hyslop, representing the Linlithgow constituency stated, ”Many families in West Lothian are under considerable financial pressure, especially at this time, and the Scottish Government are committed to helping.

“The pandemic has put incredible stress on families, and with less than two weeks until the UK government prematurely shuts down the furlough scheme, that’s unfortunately only set to get worse.

“This important investment will support around 5447 children and young people in West Lothian, helping families meet the cost of meals over Christmas, February and Easter holidays.

“I hope the Scottish Government’s decision to extend the free school meals scheme will be a great relief for many hard-pressed parents in West Lothian, and in Scotland overall.

“The Tories at Westminster had an opportunity to support thousands of families worrying about how they will put food on the table in the weeks ahead, but they refused to do so.

“It’s clear that Westminster has a lot to learn from the SNP’s approach to tackling food insecurity and building a social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect.”

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