Saturday, November 18, 2006

Labour leave children with empty plates

Scottish Executive block Free School Meals Bill

Scottish Socialist MSP Frances Curran this week served notice on the Scottish Executive that despite the decision by the Communities Committee to block the progress of her Free School Meals bill the fight goes on.

Not only is the blocking a crude assault on democracy but it also exposes the opposition of both the Executive parties, and the SNP.

All three backed the gagging move.

Frances told the Voice:“I have been inundated with angry protests from members of the public and organisations outraged at the Communities Committee gagging of the free school meals debate.“However, my message is that the fight to win healthy free meals for our primary schools is far from over and I can promise its opponents that they have seen nothing yet.“Along with many other organisations supporting it, we will be challenging all MSPs to come clean and tell us where they stand on this important issue.“If I am prevented from progressing the Bill through normal democratic channels, I may seek to raise it as an amendment to the Executive’s own Health Promotion in Schools bill.

“We will also launch a major text campaign to allow the thousands of supporters of Free School Meals to let their thumbs do the talking and text support for this major pro-health and anti-poverty measure.

“These messages will, of course, be forwarded to the First Minister so my message to free school meals supporters is, watch for the text number and text Jack with your views.

“I will also use any other legitimate parliamentary device to challenge the disgraceful anti-democratic behaviour of the Communities Committee, including examining its supposedly heavy workload which is their lame excuse for blocking my bill.

“The disgraceful treatment of the Free School Meals bill blows a hole in the fancy talk about Holyrood being a new democracy and shows that the big parties will cynically use their power to get their own way.

“The reality is that both the Scottish Executive and the SNP know that there is massive public support for free school meals and they are desperate to block any discussion of it.“Both are content to back bans on junk food in schools and pay for glossy TV ads and food Tsars but take cover when a concrete policy such as free school meals is up for discussion.“Our job is to expose the hypocrisy behind the gagging of debate and continue to make the case for free school meals loud and clear.”

Source: Scottish Socialist Voice

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