Break­fast clubs ringfenced

West Lothian Courier - - 11.10.2018 -

Coun­cil­lors passed on the idea to axe their flag­ship school break­fast clubs in a drive to save money.

there was agree­ment across the po­lit­i­cal board on Fri­day that the break­fast clubs - a flag­ship pol­icy in West Loth­ian - should be pro­tected from coun­cil cut­backs.

also off the ta­ble when it comes to cut­backs is means test­ing for free school meals at spe­cial schools, the re­moval of school cross­ing pa­trols dur­ing lunchtimes and a re­view of fund­ing for gala days.

they were among dozens of sug­ges­tions put up for dis­cus­sion at Fri­day’s meet­ing of the coun­cil’s part­ner­ship and re­sources pol­icy de­vel­op­ment and scru­tiny panel. Col­lec­tively the poli­cies taken off the ta­ble cost the coun­cil around £800,000 a year.

se­lected de­tails of the dis­cus­sion pa­per had been pub­lished on­line a few days be­fore the meet­ing and there was anger among coun­cil­lors at the sug­ges­tion that the break­fast clubs had been ear­marked for clo­sure.

in one col­umn on the dis­cus­sion doc­u­ment ti­tled Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for as­sess­ment of scope for ad­di­tional sav­ings. it said :“this ser­vice is not statu­tory. it was in­tro­duced to en­sure chil­dren were given the op­por­tu­nity to re­ceive a break­fast at the start of the day. since this pro­vi­sion was in­tro­duced the scot­tish gov­ern­ment have pro­vided fund­ing to en­sure all p1 to p3 chil­dren can ac­cess a meal time with­out cost.”

de­pute leader of the coun­cil, Kirsteen sul­li­van, said the break­fast club, and other ini­tia­tives were“red lines”for Labour.

Writ­ing on her Face­book page, the coun­cil­lor said:“as such it was rec­om­mended to of­fi­cers that th­ese sug­ges­tion should not be pro­gressed. snp and tory coun­cil­lors agreed with Labour’s po­si­tion.”

and speak­ing at tues­day’s meet­ing of the Coun­cil Ex­ec­u­tive, Coun­cil­lor sul­li­van re­ferred to the on­line pub­li­ca­tion of the com­mit­tee pa­pers and said:“i do find­ing it up­set­ting that there was some at­tempt to mis­lead par­ents in West Loth­ian.”

the break­fast club fund­ing ap­peared in more than 50 pages of ideas com­piled in a re­port by the head of fi­nance and prop­erty ser­vices on po­ten­tial ad­di­tional sav­ings to ad­dress the bud­get gap of £5.2m by 2022/23.

the sug­ges­tions in­cluded in­put from the pub­lic as part of the trans­form­ing Your Coun­cil process. the coun­cil re­ceived 7026 re­sponses and over 45,000 com­ments from the tYC con­sul­ta­tion.

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