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School Meals

Volume 938: debated on Thursday 10 November 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent steps were taken by his Department to inform parents of the new regulations for eligibility for free school meals.

The increase in eligibility received general publicity in the Press and on radio and television at the beginning of the current school session. At the same time, education authorities were asked to give the new entitlement publicity in their own areas. I understand that the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has recently recommended education authorities to bring the new entitlement to the notice of all pupils. When information is available from the special census of school meals on 31st October my right hon. Friend will consider whether further publicity is desirable.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate for September 1977 of the take-up rate in Scotland of free school meals expressed as a percentage of those who are estimated to qualify ; and what is the corresponding figure for September 1976.

An accurate figure of the number of pupils eligible for free school meals could be obtained only from specific information about the net incomes and sizes of all the families with children at school and is therefore not available. Estimates have been made for England and Wales based on analysis of Family Expenditure Survey data, but the

Paid mealsFree meals
Education Authority1976197719761977
Dumfries and Galloway13,00813,0082,8322,895
Western Isles2,5852,9321,6311,501
A special census was carried out on 31st October, the results of which it is hoped will be available in December.

asked the Secretary of State whether he will publish in the

Net weekly income (£p)
Size of familyI child entitled 2 entitled3 entitled4 entitled5 entitled6 entitled
For larger families, in respect of each child—

  • (a)£7·40 is to be added at each incremental point in every line ; and
  • (b)£1·25 is to be substracted at each incremental point in every additional column.
  • In addition, there is entitlement for all families in receipt of supplementary benefit or family income supplement. I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of the guide issued by my Department to the calculation of "net income ".