School meal debt in­creas­ing

Evening Telegraph (Late Extra Edition) - - PUZZLES -

SCHOOL meal debt is ris­ing in An­gus as par­ents strug­gle to make ends meet.

Data has re­vealed £1,036 was owed at the end of 2016/17 – up from £560 in 2015/16 and only £34 in 2014/15.

Con­ser­va­tive North East re­gion MSP Bill Bow­man said the rea­sons why some fam­i­lies might now strug­gle are com­plex.

He said: “Mov­ing to on­line-only pay­ments may present an ob­sta­cle.

“I’m con­fi­dent An­gus Coun­cil is be­ing sen­si­tive to any is­sues, but any fur­ther in­crease would be con­cern­ing.

“It is vi­tal guardians of chil­dren ap­proach­ing P4 are given all in­for­ma­tion about ben­e­fits for which they may be el­i­gi­ble.”

The coun­cil has a pol­icy of never re­fus­ing a child lunch, but the cost of a meal will be charged to their ac­count.

When a debt reaches a cer­tain amount a re­minder is sent out.

An An­gus Coun­cil spokesman said: “To en­sure fam­i­lies do not run up debt, the on­line school meal pay­ments sys­tem is set at £10.50.”

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