8 May 2024

It’s time for Scotland’s new First Minister to deliver on his 3.5-year-old promise 

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Written by Magic Breakfast Team

Home > What we do > News and views > It’s time for Scotland’s new First Minister to deliver on his 3.5-year-old promise 

Three and a half years ago, First Minister John Swinney, then-Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, promised “free provision of a healthy breakfast to all primary school pupils,” during his address at the 2020 Scottish National Party Conference. Since then, the Government has not served a single slice of toast, bowl of porridge, or piece of fruit. From Aberdeen to Ayr, every school morning in the past 3.5 years, Scottish children have missed out on the opportunity of a nutritious and filling school breakfast to set them up for the day ahead. Such inaction has grave consequences, for every day that promise remains unfulfilled, 250,000 children risk going without breakfast. Breakfast can’t wait any longer. Scottish children can’t wait any longer. The First Minister must act now and put breakfast on the table.   

As the new First Minister of Scotland, Swinney has the chance to fulfil his initial promise to children and can do so by bringing free school breakfast provision to the forefront of the Scottish Government’s agenda. By doing so, he would support the children and young people who not only count on him but have been patiently waiting for his Government to fulfil its promise. Simultaneously, he would help address a litany of challenges facing the Scottish education system, particularly among attendance, attainment, behaviour, and childcare. With tremendous benefits to children and young people, families, and education, school breakfast provision is a simple, yet mighty policy action Swinney can take to make his mark as the new First Minister of Scotland.  

Magic Breakfast has stepped up to meet the gaps of the Scottish Government by providing thousands of breakfasts every day across Scotland. Yet, despite many breakfasts being served, there are still a tremendous number of children the charity sector is unable to reach. As Scotland’s new First Minister, John Swinney has the opportunity to make his mark with breakfast provision.  

Breakfast provision is a powerful tool with exponential benefits for education, children and young people, families, work, and the economy. Despite the countless benefits, the Government has continuously chosen not to act since Swinney’s initial pledge in 2020. The longer they abstain, the more children and young people fall at risk of going to school too hungry to learn. The consequences are enormous and reverberate throughout a young person’s life. Challenges to the education system are worse than ever before, with issues in attendance and attainment growing. Behind these statistics and statements are thousands of children and young people missing out on breakfast every school day.  

The benefits of breakfast provision, as well as the consequences of its absence, are clear. Therefore, it is essential breakfast provision not only remains on the Scottish Government’s agenda but is actually implemented. Unfortunately, we know all too well that a promise from this Government is not guaranteed. That is why Magic Breakfast is working hard to collaborate with the Scottish Government to see their promise is followed through.  

Breakfast provision is a powerful tool that can change lives – uplifting children today and for generations to come. It’s time for the First Minister and the Scottish Government to end child morning hunger now, and for good, and can do so by fulfilling their 3.5-year-old promise to children, families, and educators. It’s time for free school breakfast provision in Scotland.  

Jordan Langs, Magic Breakfast’s Policy and Public Affairs Officer

This page was last updated on

8 May 2024

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