asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will extend the scope of the European Community school milk subsidy in the United Kingdom.
I am glad to be able to announce that, following consultations with the European Commission, flavoured semi-skimmed milk is to be added to the school milk programme attracting Community subsidy within England and Wales.
This new arrangement—which is separate from the aggregate scheme for whole milk which I announced last July—will come into effect on 1 June, and a circular explaining its operation is being sent to local authorities. Bearing in mind the 24 per cent. increase in the Community subsidy and the halving of the national contribution to 12½ per cent. arising from the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers on 17–18 May, I very much hope that local authorities will be prepared to make the small contribution that is now needed to take advantage of the subsidy, and thus make this popular product available more widely to schools at reduced prices. I hope also that these changes in the subsidy rates will lead to a still greater provision of subsidised whole milk under the aggregate scheme and of cheese and yoghurt under the existing school milk programme.
Similar arrangements for flavoured milk are also being introduced by the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Northern Ireland.