>> 11 February 2010


The Conservative/Liberal administration of Aberdeenshire Council were condemned today for reneging on a commitment to provide free school meals to early years primary school children.

During consideration of the council’s budget at a meeting of Aberdeenshire Council, administration councillors voted to remove the entitlement of all primary 1 to 3 children to free school meals. Children already entitled to free meals will however continue to receive these.

Members of the Democratic Independent Group also attempted to remove £3,300,000 from the roads budget, mainly for road repairs.

SNP Group Leader Cllr Joanna Strathdee (Huntly, Strathbogie & Howe of Alford) said:

“The Conservatives and Liberals in Aberdeenshire are implementing London Labour’s cuts. The Scottish Government’s budget is under severe pressure as a result of the Downing Street Downturn and the result is that, locally, primary school children will lose out on free school meals.

“We all know about the appalling health record of this country and one of the ways we can start turning this around is to ensure that young children receive a healthy, balanced meal at least once a day. Now, with the decision today by the Tories and Liberals, children are set to lose out and we have returned to the days of Margaret Thatcher-Milk Snatcher.

SNP Group Economic Development spokesperson Cllr Rob Merson (Ellon & District) commented:

“At a time when the road network is suffering from the after effects of one of the most severe winters for many years, and with thousands of potholes awaiting repair, it simply beggars belief that any Aberdeenshire councillor could seriously propose taking over £3million out of the roads budget.

“Even with the explanation from the Democratic Independents that they wished to borrow money to do this instead, thereby racking up interest charges for the council, it shows a complete lack of awareness of the priorities of the people of the North-east.”

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