Meetings and parliamentary engagements 
  

We held two meetings on 5th July:

  • Peter Dowd,  Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Labour MP for Bootle – an area which has high levels of deprivation.
 
  • Henry Lee, Senior Parliamentary Assistant to Conservative MP Neil Parish – chair of the Efra Committee and former chair of the Dairy APPG and the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee.

We held one meeting on 11th July:

  • Ian Mearns, Labour MP for Gateshead and member of the Education Select Committee.

We are preparing to re-engage with parliamentarians following the summer recess, including newly appointed members of the Efra, Education and Health Select Committees; and the parliamentary candidates that expressed their support for a post-Brexit school milk scheme during the election and subsequently won their seats.

Parliamentary debates

Prior to Parliament rising for the summer recess, an end of term adjournment debate was held in the House of Commons allowing MPs to discuss issues that they consider a personal priority and bring them to Parliament’s attention. One of the contributors was Shadow Farming Minster Mary Glindon, who led the Westminster Hall debate on school and nursery milk in March. Her contribution began with a criticism of the sugar tax, in which she stated that the effort was badly targeted and had proven ineffective in other countries. Instead, she proposed that supporting children’s milk consumption could be used as an alternative strategy to manage obesity, and asked the Government to consider the review of the research on the impact of milk on children’s development carried out by Northumbria University, which suggested that milk consumption generally improves children’s nutritional status. She also asked the Government to pledge that the planned update to the School Food Standards for England would retain the requirement to make milk available to children every day in the school in which they applied.

As is often the case with end of term adjournment debates, no Government response was provided to Ms Glindon’s points. However, in once again raising these issues, she has ensured that the supply of milk to children is being kept on the radar of policymakers.

Parliamentary written questions

Ms Glindon also tabled two written parliamentary questions. The first asked the Education Secretary what assessment her Department has made of (a) levels of support among parents for and (b) the potential health benefits to young children of extending the school nursery milk scheme to include all children in reception classes regardless of age. The second asked what steps her Department is taking to (a) revise the School Food Standards to align them with the intent behind and structure of the soft drinks industry levy and (b) encourage more schools to adhere to those standards. Progress in answering these questions will be monitored.
  

Parliamentary activity
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