HC Deb 03 July 1968 vol 767 c1479
13. Mr. James Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many children in Lanarkshire received school meals free in the month preceding the increased charges; how many received them in the month following the increase; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Millan

During the periods referred to, which include the Easter holiday, the average daily numbers of pupils receiving school meals free were 8,610 and 18,269, respectively.

Mr. Hamilton

Is my hon. Friend aware that since the increase in the price of school meals many children requiring them do not take them? Is he aware that the increase is in children whose parents can afford to pay and are prepared to pay? Will he give the matter serious consideration?

Mr. Millan

There has been some reduction in uptake in Lanarkshire. It is a little difficult at this early stage to know what the final results will be. That reduction has been about 10 per cent. The figures I gave in my Answer demonstrate that the new arrangements provide free meals for a very much larger percentage of the children taking meals. It is now 37 per cent. compared with 16 per cent. previously, and therefore I cannot accept my hon. Friend's criticism.