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Welfare Food Scheme

Volume 400: debated on Wednesday 26 February 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the value of benefit under the Welfare Food Scheme is as a proportion of the household food budget, for the poorest 20 per cent. of mothers who bottle feed. [99016]

The Welfare Food Scheme is primarily targeted at low income families in receipt of income support and income based job seekers' allowance. Certain families in receipt of working families' tax credit are also eligible for specific provisions under the scheme. It is not possible to identify the poorest 20 per cent. of beneficiaries within these groups. The majority of eligible mothers in the scheme with a child under one opt to take-up infant formula.Bottle-feeding mothers with a child under one in receipt of income support or income based job seekers' allowance are entitled to a benefit which consists of a fixed amount of milk. They receive milk tokens which can be exchanged for seven pints of liquid milk or one 900g tin of infant formula per week. The monetary value of the milk is variable as it is dependent upon the price charged by retailers and manufacturers.Certain families in receipt of working families' tax credit are entitled to purchase 900g tins of infant formula at a discounted rate from designated national health service clinics.