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Fruit: Schools

Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the EU proposals for free fruit provision in schools; and if he will make a statement. (226767)

[holding answer 14 October 2008]: On 8 July 2008 the European Commission published a proposal providing for the introduction of a voluntary EU-wide school fruit scheme for the supply into schools of fruit (including bananas) and vegetables. The proposals are principally for the provision of €90 million of European funds for the purchase of the fruit and vegetables themselves, allocated to member states on the basis of their population of school children aged between six and 10 years. A member state which chose to take part in the scheme would be required to provide co-finance and to submit a national strategy. EC funding cannot be used to replace existing national funding.

The proposals for the scheme are currently being finalised in Brussels, with the intention that an agreement should be reached by the end of this year. As the proposals develop, they are being assessed and considered by officials and Ministers across Government and also with the devolved Administrations and external stakeholders.