Children's charities, parents groups, teaching unions and churches unite in call for cash payment for families as schools close
An extraordinary coalition of children's charities, parents groups, teaching unions, churches and academics has written to the First Minister urging her to ensure cash payments are made to families currently in receipt of free school meals, after it was announced that schools will close from the end of the week.
The letter, sent today (Thursday 18th), warns that “low-income families are already struggling to make ends meet " and that "the additional cost of providing lunch will be a significant, and in many cases unmanageable, financial pressure on families."
The signatories, including the Church of Scotland, the EIS teaching union, the National Parent Forum, Child Poverty Action Group, One Parent Families Scotland and Citizens Advice Scotland say that:
“Building on the welcome support announced today by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, we believe the most effective way to protect families from the additional pressure that loss of free school meals will create will be to make cash payments to families currently in receipt of free school meals."
“We believe support in the face of the Covid-19 crisis must be provided in a way that gives families the choice and agency to meet their family's needs in this exceptional time. A cash payment in lieu of free school meals would be a dignified response, respectful of human rights and avoiding any potential stigma.”
John Dickie, director of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, one of the organisations behind the letter, said:
"It is absolutely vital that government at every level acts to protect children from the impact of Covid-19. Here in Scotland we welcome the commitments that were made in Holyrood today but we now urge the First Minister to ensure low-income families receive cash payments to help meet the extra costs of having children at home every day. Hard-up families are already struggling to stay afloat. This payment would provide a lifeline in these exceptional circumstances."
The full letter and all signatories can be found at
For further details or interviews contact John Dickie on 07795 340 618