Readers' letters: Budget cuts hold up free school meals

Free school meals are not to be universally available in ScotlandFree school meals are not to be universally available in Scotland
Free school meals are not to be universally available in Scotland
Teachers condemning the hold-up on free school meals is concerning, but we may want to dig deeper.

The Scottish Government has taken a massive hit to their budget due to the current rise in inflation, exacerbated by the economic policies of the Westminster Government.

The Scottish budget has diminished by £1.7bn as a result of inflation, so it is inevitable that consequences will follow.

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While free school meals are needed, the Scottish Government are addressing child poverty in Scotland with the roll-out of the Scottish Child Payment (£25/wk) to all eligible under 16-year-olds.

This move is certainly game changing, as has been suggested by many anti-poverty groups. But it may be worth highlighting that SNP councillors in Stirling Council recently proposed ‘soup and a roll’ to all those in primary schools not eligible for free school meals and all secondary pupils

However, Scrooge came to the council in the form of Labour and Conservative councillors who voted down this roll-out which was suggested would have cost the council £160,000 in January-March ’23.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk

Broken promises

So much for the promises made by the SNP to give all primary school pupils free lunches by 2022, as the programme has slipped yet again.

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It would appear that the SNP have broken all promises made to reduce poverty in Scotland as the figures are getting worse not better.

The Scottish electorate should not be regarded as fools as they are carefully adding up all the SNP failures when considering how they are to vote in the 2024 elections.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen

Wrong priorities

Now it transpires that Holyrood will not be introducing free school meals for all primary children, as promised.

Yet there is cash for so-called embassies abroad, while much money is lost on botched ferries, much time for gender recognition.

You really wonder at the priorities of these people!

William Ballantine, Bo’ness

We need to work on promoting good will

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Humanists are celebrating the fact that a majority of people no longer have recourse to faith traditions or their superstitions. But is this attitude one that exudes good will to all?

Perhaps bigger issues divide us. Politically speaking in the West we have drawn up in battle lines of left and right and the mindsets behind that are barely noticed.

So the right can have no truck with unions even though the NHS has a special case for major pay rises. The left can have no truck with the right even though decisions by Conservative governments have got us into a malaise in which there is little capacity to spend money on the needs of people right now.

Trump, Putin, Corbyn, Johnston, Truss are names which evoke disapproval. We are drawn by them into stereotyping opponents.

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The same problem besets debate between Humanists and Christians at this time. According to some humanist writers Christianity is a religion of fundamentalism forcing its adherents into believing such stories as the one about Jesus' birth in a stable and his lineage from David.

But there are Christians who pay attention to what is known about the historical Jesus. And there are humanists who sympathise with historically-minded Christians.

Our times requires an ability to work down black and white thinking so we see shades of gray. Only in this way can we offer good will.

Andrew Vass, Edinburgh

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