29 June 2023

Magic Breakfast reiterate their ask for Scottish children in an open letter to the First Minister

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Home > What we do > News and views > Magic Breakfast reiterate their ask for Scottish children in an open letter to the First Minister

Magic Breakfast reiterate their ask, in an open letter to the First Minister, to commit to his stated aim to ‘lift people out of poverty’ and keep the government’s breakfast promise to children and young people. 

  • Magic Breakfast launched ‘Breakfast Can’t Wait’ in May 2023 following a poll* which showed the policy is backed by 78% of Scottish adults 
  • September 2023 will see the new Programme for Government – offering the Scottish government another opportunity to fulfil this commitment 
  • Scotland cannot meet its potential without investing in the future of our youngest citizens.  

28 June 2023. Magic Breakfast is reiterating the demand for the First Minister to make a clear commitment in his September 2023 Programme for Government, to roll out breakfast provision in all primary and special schools in Scotland.  In an open letter to Humza Yousaf, Magic Breakfast is calling for the government to invest in children and young people now and improve their life chances and the future of Scotland tomorrow.  

Open Letter to the First Minister

Dear First Minister,  

In March 2023, we asked Scottish voters whether free school breakfasts should be a priority for your first six months as First Minister. An irrefutable 78% said yes. They, like the 250,000 young Scots who are at risk of going to school hungry each day, know that breakfast can’t wait. Those children and their futures can’t wait.  

When your party chose you as their leader you told them, ‘the Government I lead will renew and redouble our efforts to lift people out of poverty.’ It is this commitment that gives me hope that you understand the importance of moving beyond words and taking action. It also gives assurance that you are aware of the importance and impact of your decisions and priorities. Particularly for the most vulnerable members of our society.  

I know you and your government are faced with difficult decisions every day, but this is not one of them.  

To deliver on your promises – made in the SNP manifesto and your leadership campaign – we implore you to action the Scottish Government’s pledge to deliver universal breakfast provision in all primary and special schools.  

The Scottish Government made their commitment to universal provision back in the 2021-22 Programme for Government. This promise was most recently Address: PO Box 21673, Stirling, FK7 1GG Phone: 020 7836 5434 Email: info@magicbreakfast.com reiterated on May 25th by Minister Natalie Don in response to written question S6W-17840.  

This progressive universalist policy is not only supported across the parliament by every party, it is also affordable. My team put a manageable annual price tag of £26.8 million. It also has proven short- and long-term economic benefits.  

Providing school breakfasts eases the financial hardship facing so many families across Scotland. School breakfasts have been shown to benefit students academically, with two months extra progression in key subjects in the early years of primary school. Furthermore, the evidence shows that for every £1 spent on school breakfast there is a £50 return on investment to the economy and public purse (Pro Bono Economics, 2021).  

You know that one pupil going to school too hungry to learn is one too many. You don’t need me to tell you this, or our youth campaigner Grace who spoke out publicly of her first-hand knowledge of hunger in schools, or the Scots who have been writing to their representatives calling on them to ask you to deliver, or the parents who wrote to you last week to share the impact breakfast has in their children’s schools.  

As Scotland’s largest charity provider, we use the limited resources we have to deliver breakfast to around 4,000 young Scots each morning. As the First Minister, you can wield the full power of the state to end child morning hunger. It is no one else’s decision but yours.  

In just a few months the Presiding Officer will call on you to present your Programme for Government. Please don’t forget your commitment to lift people out of poverty and your promises to young Scots. Please don’t forget the most important meal of the day – breakfast.  

Sincerely, Dr Lindsey MacDonald 


Find out how you can support Magic Breakfast at www.magicbreakfast.com 


Magic Breakfast is a registered charity providing healthy breakfasts to children and young people in the UK who arrive at school too hungry to learn, and expert support to their schools. Over 200,000 children and young people are on roll at Primary, Secondary, ASL / Special Educational Needs Schools, and Pupil Referral Units that the charity works with, in disadvantaged areas of Scotland and England. Providing breakfast ensures that children start their school day with the energy and nutrition they need to be able to make the most of their morning lessons.  Magic Breakfast also undertakes research, and campaigns for long-term solutions to end hunger as a barrier to learning.   


In a March 2023 poll conducted by Survation on behalf of Magic Breakfast, 1014 people aged 16+ living in Scotland, were asked: 

The SNP made a commitment in its manifesto to provide free breakfast for all primary school pupils and special school pupils in Scotland. To what extent, if at all, do you agree or disagree with the following statement? ‘The new first Minister of Scotland should prioritise this commitment within the next six months’? 

78% of respondents answered ‘agree’. 

CONTACT: Stephen.Hart@magicbreakfast.com or 07967 550463.  

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1 December 2023

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