A CAMPAIGN has been launched to "end hunger" in Glasgow schools.

Protesters gathered outside Glasgow City Chambers on Thursday, March 9 to launch a campaign to Feed the Weans.

Activists called for schools to provide all schoolchildren with free meals and end the current "means-tested" school meal program.

The campaign also called for an end to "school meal debt".

Glasgow Times:

Members of Unite the Union were joined by Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) and the Together Against Debt Campaign to stage the march.

The protest was timed to coincide with the Skills and Early Years Policy Committee meeting being held inside the Chambers.

Glasgow Times:

Claire Peron, an organiser with Unite the Union, said: "Think about kids in school, sitting at their desk, thinking about food.

"And that's all they can think about. How can they learn effectively?

"These are the most important years of their life.

"We need to give them the best start possible, and providing a school meal, a hot school meal, goes a long way."

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

She claimed that single-parent families and lower-income families were falling through the cracks by not meeting the current threshold for free school meals.

Claire said: "They could miss it sometimes by a pound or two a week, and that means they need to pay for the meals."

The cost-of-living crisis is making it harder for families to make ends meet, she says.

Glasgow Times:

Claire added: "Parents and people are struggling, we're being squeezed.

"Everything has gone up. Our gas and electricity have gone up, our food has gone up, and our fuel has gone up, but wages are in decline.

"So where do we find this extra money for meals now?

"Things have to give. People are really choosing between heating and eating."

Claire claimed the campaigners had asked to submit a motion to go into the meeting today but the request was too late and had to be deferred to the next meeting.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

She said: "The importance of this is that children go hungry across Scotland and we need to do something about it.

"So we are asking for the eradication of school meal debt and school meals for all children."

Joe Rollin, senior organiser at Unite, said: “More and more parents are fighting a losing battle to feed their children in their most important years of school - this cannot continue.

“Activists are calling on Glasgow City Council to ensure that no primary school child has to go hungry. There must be an end to means testing and school meals debt.

“The levels of food poverty in Glasgow are absolutely shameful. Glasgow City Council must act. As a society we have to give children the best start in life - hungry children cannot learn.”

Councillor Richard Bell, depute leader of Glasgow City Council and City Treasurer, said: “No child or young person in Glasgow’s schools has to go hungry.

“The cost-of-living crisis has exacerbated deep-rooted challenges around child poverty which we have long been committed to tackling.

“Glasgow was the first local authority to expand the universal free school meals to P4 children ahead of the national roll-out, while more than two million meals and snacks have been served as part of the pioneering Holiday Food and Activity Programme since its introduction five years ago.

“At present, more than 50% of our families are entitled to free school meals and from August P6 and P7 pupils will receive free school meals if their families receive the Scottish Child Payment.

“As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite and burden households we’re responding with interventions with the resources available to us and working with the third sector to target needs that are wider than school meals.

“We will continue to deliver for our families.”