Govt urged to launch nationwide ‘holiday fun fund’ for poorer families to battle rising cost of living

The government should create a new nationwide “holiday fun fund” as part of their response to the rising cost of living, the Lib Dems said today.

The party believes it could help make sure children from poorer families can still enjoy outings and activities during school breaks.

The Liberal Democrats also want to ensure all youngsters have “guaranteed access to life-changing activities outside of school”.

And to help with learning, they want every child to have access to internet-connected devices, saying too many were left without when the pandemic resulted in most children doing their work from home.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said the plans are part of a bid to offer “new hope” to families hit hard by rising prices.

He raised the issue in the run up to the May 5 local government elections, promising voters: “Liberal Democrat councillors will get to grips with what really matters right now, which is the cost-of-living crisis.

“Together, we are determined to get extra help to families, including on housing and childcare. Those bills can be just as frightening as the gas bill.

Liberal Democrat councillors will push for thousands more council and housing association properties to be built, providing more people with affordable homes.

Another priority the party has highlighted is extending free early learning and childcare to help cut costs for families.

School breakfast clubs should also be made available to all youngsters that would benefit from them, the Lib Dems insisted.

Mr Cole-Hamilton spoke out as he made a campaign visit to the Pennywell Pantry in north Edinburgh, describing it as a “fantastic community initiative that helps so many individuals and families in need”.

Although the facility is just a few miles from the Scottish Government’s headquarters at St Andrew’s House, the Lib Dem MSP said the situation facing struggling families can “feel like another universe”.

He said: “In the middle of the biggest fall in living standards since the ’50s, it saddens me but does not surprise me how in demand their services are.

“Their work shows how important it is for people making decisions to be embedded in the communities they serve. It is just five miles from here to St Andrews House but it can feel like another universe.”