Parliamentary activity
Meetings and engagement

The Alliance met with the following parliamentarians in March:

  • Labour MP Jenny Chapman (Shadow Childcare Minister)
  • Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams (Secretary/Treasurer, Dairy APPG)
  • Crossbench peer Baroness Masham of Ilton (Co-Chair, Health APPG; Secretary, Primary Care and Public Heath)
  • SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron (Vice Chair, Dairy APPG)
  • Labour peer Lord Watson of Invergowrie (Lords Education Spokesperson)

These meetings allowed the Alliance to build support on issues such as the School Food Standards, the European School Milk Scheme, and the Nursery Milk Scheme, as well as the provision of milk to children more generally. During these meetings, the Alliance emphasised the role of milk in helping guard against dental problems and childhood obesity in the early years, promoting milk as a mid-morning snack. The parliamentarians expressed agreement with the Alliance’s aims and objectives as well as a willingness to take forward activity such as tabling written and oral questions, and sponsoring a parliamentary drop-in event. Some parliamentarians also suggested other parliamentarians to contact, as well as organisations in the sector of interest, such as the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).

The Alliance also updated its meeting materials and approached a second wave of parliamentarians, with a particular focus on the Conservatives and SNP. SNP Health Spokesperson Dr Philippa Whitford’s office has already responded that she may be interested in meeting, pending confirmation from her researcher. Throughout April, the Alliance will continue to liaise with parliamentarians to secure further meeting dates, as well as secure dates with parliamentarians that we have agreed meetings with in principle. These include:

  • Labour MP Andrew Gwynne (Shadow Health Minister)
  • SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie (Member, Environment Select Committee; Vice Chair, Health Select Committee)
  • Labour MP Diana Johnson (Vice Chair, School Food APPG; Vice Chair, Fit and Healthy Childhood APPG)

Parliamentary questions

Shadow Farming Minister Nick Smith and Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Baroness Parminter have received answers to written parliamentary questions drafted by the Alliance.

Smith asked what plans Defra has to participate in the revised European School Milk Scheme and what progress it is making on helping implement it. Farming Minister George Eustice responded that Defra will “consider the new requirements” of the scheme and “consult with interested parties”.

Baroness Parminter asked the Government what plans it has to develop a new strategy for the implementation of the European School Milk Scheme from 2017 and what plans it has to involve stakeholders in developing this strategy. Environment Minister Lord Gardiner of Kimble responded that all EU member states wishing to participate in the revised European School Milk Scheme will be required to submit a multi-annual strategy setting out their priorities, and the detailed rules for drawing up national strategies will be adopted by the European Commission in the coming months.

The Alliance will approach parliamentary supporters to table further parliamentary questions on issues such as compliance to the School Food Standards and Defra’s work on the implementation strategy for the European School Milk Scheme.

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