Political row erupts over free school meals

East Lothian Council

East Lothian Council

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Political opponents have hit out at East Lothian’s Labour MSP for voting against providing free school meals to pupils in P1 to P3.

Iain Gray came under fire from the SNP for his stance on the Scottish Government’s decision which will mean that around 3,500 children in the county will all get free school meals from next January – saving parents more than £350 a year.

Colin Beattie (SNP) MSP for Musselburgh, claimed: “The debate completely exposed Labour’s narrow partisan agenda. In their determination to attack everything proposed by the SNP, Iain Gray ended up voting against policies which Labour themselves claimed to support.”

Mr Gray accused the SNP of indulging in “playground politics” following the debate on how £200,000 should be spent.

He said: “Along with Labour colleagues I argued that this should be used to extend free nursery places, currently available to three year olds, to half of our children aged two. Instead the SNP chose to spend the money on free school meals in P1, 2 and 3.

“Labour made clear that we believe free school meals are a good thing but that with limited funds extending childcare was a greater priority.”

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