OPPOSITION politicians have hit out at the council for not participating in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, denying pupils discounted school meals.

Pupils in East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire will be able to enjoy half off their lunches in school canteens as their councils opted to participate in the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which gives diners half off their meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August.

The leader of the Glasgow Conservative council group, Thomas Kerr asked why the council had not chosen to participate in the scheme and accused the SNP of playing politics by not embracing the scheme.

Glasgow Times:

Mr Kerr said: “The Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been an undoubted success across the United Kingdom in revitalising our hospitality industry following the Coronavirus lockdown. Not only has it helped to preserve jobs and livelihoods, it has also saved diners millions of pounds in the cost of going out for a meal.

“I’m extremely disappointed that the SNP in Glasgow decided that giving pupils and teachers access to discounted meals was not deemed worthwhile. Tens of thousands of establishments, from large chains to small independent cafes, have signed up for the scheme and I find it incredible that Glasgow City Council did not have the resources to do likewise.

“I’d like to know why the SNP thinks parents in Glasgow don’t deserve access to the same benefits as neighbouring local authorities. It’s no secret that the SNP haven’t embraced this fantastic UK government scheme for their own party political purposes but I hope these kind of childish and spiteful motivations played no part in this decision.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately Glasgow is not able to make use of the scheme as operation of the scheme would bring a significant administrative burden and cost to officers and schools as the scheme only operates on a part week basis.

“While officers accept that a reduced school meals cost would be of benefit to families, school meals are already heavily subsidised and it is not considered viable at a time when authorities’ support staff resources are limited due to Covid and heavily focused on supporting the return of schools.

“Please remember we have a high number of families across the city who qualify for free school meals and all P1 –P4 receive universal free school meals as well.”