The Scottish Government’s decision to cut funding for summer holiday provision for most local authorities, including East Lothian, has been slammed by Martin Whitfield MSP.

The decision not to provide funding for summer holiday clubs and other provision means the PSG and Fa’side Lunch Clubs run by the Pennypit Trust have been left thousands of pounds short of the funding they need to run this summer.

The issue was raised in the Scottish Parliament today by Mr Whitfield’s Scottish Labour colleague Pam Duncan-Glancy. She challenged the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Shirley-Anne Somerville, on the decision and the uncertainty it has caused.

Last year, funding provided to East Lothian Council by the Scottish Government was passed on to these clubs and other summer activities across East Lothian. The funding helped support a comprehensive programme for the holiday period.

Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“Last year the Scottish Government provided an additional £10 million to local authorities to support the development of programmes of coordinated access to childcare, food, and activities during the 2022 school summer holidays.

“This year Ministers dithered and delayed before it finally emerged that most councils, including East Lothian, will not receive extra funding to assist with holiday provision over the summer.

“With rising living costs still causing huge difficulties for many families, it beggars belief that the government would decide to slash this extra support now just weeks before the start of the summer holiday.

“Families on low incomes can find the long summer holiday the most difficult time of the year financially and the excellent summer lunch clubs run by the Pennypit are a vital lifeline for many.

“I know the amazing team at the Pennypit is pulling out all the stops to try and ensure the clubs can go ahead, but they should never have been left in this predicament.”