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School Milk

Volume 986: debated on Thursday 19 June 1980

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress he has made in discussions with the European Economic Community regarding obtaining a contribution towards the cost of school milk.

I am continuing my discussions with the Commission and hope that they will be completed shortly.

Will the Minister agree that the fact that all this milk is flowing around Europe when our children are being denied school milk makes this a matter for urgent consideration? If the Minister is successful in his negotiations will he consider extending the availability of milk to all children in school?

If I am successful in my negotiations education authorities will have the opportunity to make decisions with considerable aid from Europe. I had further talks in Luxembourg this week on this matter and I hope that the talks will be completed shortly.

If the provision of free school milk is to continue, will my right hon. Friend use his good offices to ensure that it is rendered rather more attractive? Will he ensure that the provision of some refrigeration plant is insisted upon, and that the dairies consider providing flavoured milk?

Will the Minister accept that recent Tory legislation in education, giving discretion to local authorities on school meals, means that the nutritional value of school meals is rapidly declining and that the take-up of free school meals is also declining? If the right hon. Gentleman can obtain assistance from the EEC towards free school milk does he agree that it will be something in exchange for the massive payments that we make?