Councillor Roddy McCuish, the new Leader of the new administration of Argyll and Bute Council has issued a press statement to clarify, without equivocation, the council position on matters relating to the treatment of young Martha Payne and her NeverSeconds blog on her school dinners.
This statement therefore ‘supersedes all other council statements on the matter already issued’.
Councillor McCuish says:
‘There is no place for censorship in this Council and never will be whilst I am leader.
‘I have advised senior officers that this Administration intends to clarify the Council’s policy position in regard to taking photos in schools’
‘I have therefore requested senior officials to consider immediately withdrawing the ban on pictures from the school dining hall until a report can be considered by Elected Members.
‘This will allow the continuation of the Neverseconds blog written by an enterprising and imaginative pupil, Martha Payne which has also raised lots of money for charity.
‘But we all must also accept that there is absolutely no place for the type of inaccurate and abusive attack on our catering and dining hall staff, such as we saw in one newspaper yesterday which considerably inflamed the situation. That, of course, was not the fault of the blog but of the paper.
‘We need to find a united way forward so I am going to bring together our catering staff, the pupils, councillors and council officials – to ensure that the council continues to provide healthy, nutrious and attractive school meals. This ‘School Meals Summit’ will take place later this summer.
‘I will also meet Martha and her father as soon as I can, along with our lead councillor on Education, Michael Breslin to seek her continued engagement, along with lots of other pupils, in helping the council to get this issue right.
‘By so doing Martha Payne and her friends will have had a strong and lasting influence not just on school meals, but on the whole of Argyll & Bute.’