Date lodged: 6 July 2016
To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to change the criteria to qualify for free school meals and, if so, how.
Answered by: John Swinney 25 July 2016
The Scottish Government is continuing to consider how eligibility to free school meals will be determined in the context of the UK Government’s programme for welfare reform. As an interim arrangement, the Education (School Lunches) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2013 prescribed the receipt of universal credit as an eligibility criterion for free school meals to ensure that no child will lose their entitlement during the early stages of the universal credit roll-out. The Scottish Government is currently working with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to consider the eligibility criteria for free school meals under universal credit in the future.
The Scottish Government has also committed to extending universal free school meals to all two, three and four year olds in funded early learning and childcare as part of the expansion to 1140 hours of early learning and childcare by the end of this parliament.