School meal vote raises big questions

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We all remember the stigma of the past associated with free school meals, so the actions of the Scottish Government in passing legislation which will give every primary 1 to 3 pupil a free school meal (your report, 8 January) has to be applauded as we continue the battle against poverty.

But sadly two out of the three unionist parties in the Scottish Parliament did not agree with this legislation and choose to vote against.

This was no real surprise with Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Conservatives, except their actions demonstrate their opposition to the coalition government’s policy on this matter, but to hear Johann Lamont, Scottish Labour leader, suggesting this was “the wrong priority at a time of limited resources” was a real shocker.

However, Ms Lamont convinced her fellow Labour MSPs to vote against this legislation and suggested available cash should have been spent on further child care provision – sentiments which suggest Ms Lamont was unable to take in the full announcement of the day, which included enhanced child care for vulnerable two-year-olds.

Scottish Labour’s actions once again suggest it may have much explaining to do to the Scottish voters.

Catriona C Clark

Hawthorn Drive

Banknock, Falkirk

I am glad that M Smythe (Letters, 7 January) approves the wish of First Minister Alex Salmond to replicate the Danish child care system here.

M Smythe wonders about higher taxes. If universally available child care frees parents to work, they will be paying taxes. Under devolution our taxes go to Westminster and some come back in the “block grant”.

With independence, our taxes stay in Scotland for us to use as we decide.

Danish taxes are currently higher than taxes here, but so are Danish incomes.

If we can achieve similar results in Scotland most of us will be better off.

David Stevenson

Blacket Place

Edinburgh

M Smythe sounds like a short-sighted, selfish person.

Yes, helping people have access to child care (and its natural extension, decent education) would result in higher taxes, but those people live in the same world as we do. They will consequently feel part of a society that cares for them and may well care for us/it in return.

Who doesn’t want a better educated world?

ANGELA INNES

Dundas Street

Edinburgh

I was interested in the headline, “Salmond gives £114 million boost for child care”. Should that not have read: “Westminster gives Salmond £114m for child care”?

William Ballantine

Dean Road

Bo’ness, West Lothian

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