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School Meals And Milk

Volume 481: debated on Thursday 30 November 1950

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asked the Minister of Education the number in receipt of, and the cost of, free meals, free milk, cheap meals and cheap milk, in schools at the outbreak of the last war, and to the latest convenient date.

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

In view of the difficulties which have existed since the war, is it not fortunate that provision was made by legislation for all these matters by a Conservative Government before the war?

I only wish that more provision had been made by any sort of Government. It is the implementation that matters, not the legislation.

Following is the answer:
No. of pupils in grant aided schools receiving:—
1. Free midday meals111,000(a)310,000(b)
2. Midday meals on payment50,000(a)2,540,000(b)
3. Free milk560,0004,700,000(b)
4. Milk on payment1,940,000Nil
Cost to public funds in:—
1. 1938–1939:
Meals and Milk (1 to 4 above)£1·47 million (c)
2. 1949–1950:
(i) Meals (1 and 2 above)£27 million
(ii) Milk (3 above)£6·6 million
  • (a) Refer only to Public Elementary Schools: no record is available for Secondary Schools.
  • (b) Represent numbers recorded on a day in October, 1949.
  • (c) It is not possible to apportion this expenditure accurately between meals and milk.
  • 13.

    asked the Minister of Education what progress has been made to secure a supply of school milk to the 14 schools in Norfolk that have been without a supply during this term.

    A milk supply has been arranged for four of the 14 schools and every effort is still being made to find a supplier for the remaining 10.

    Is it not rather strange that in a county which is producing far more milk than ever before, and is sending it to other parts of the country, children in schools there should be without a supply of milk for no other reason than that there is not a supply in the immediate neighbourhood but there is a supply available further away?

    These children have had milk previously, and I am given to understand that the supplier has given up delivery and that the difficulty is one of obtaining a supplier at the price which is normally paid. The question of the price paid is a matter for the Ministry of Food.

    Could the Minister say whether the difficulty arises out of the recent changes made in milk distributing margins by the Minister of Food?

    No, I do not think so, but it is a question of the amount paid to the supplier for the milk.

    Surely this matter could have been settled before now in view of the fact that it has been known about since last July. That is surely time enough to produce a better result than 4 out of 14.

    It is strange that this difficulty should have arisen in only 10 schools out of the total number of schools in Norfolk. It seems to me that in this matter there is some reason in addition to that suggested.