Parliamentary activity
Meetings and engagement

The Alliance has arranged a number of meetings over the next few months, with both Parliamentarians and wider stakeholders:

15th June:
  • Diana Johnson, Vice Chair of the School Food APPG
  • Philippa Whitford MP, SNP Health Spokesperson
  • Simon Hoare, Vice Chair of the Dairy APPG

27th June:
  • Researcher to Rishi Sunak, who is a member of the Environment Select Committee
  • Researcher to Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the School Food APPG and Shadow Education Minister.

28th June:
  • Dr Tony Kilcoyne, Dental Campaigner
  • Linda Creegan, CEO of the Children’s Food Trust and Chair of the School Food Plan Alliance.

Meetings secured in principle:
  • Valentine Mulholland, Policy Adviser to the NAHT, provisionally scheduled for 5th July
  • Labour MP Andrew Gwynne (Shadow Health Minister). Likely to take place in September
  • Labour MP Nic Dakin’s (Shadow Education Minister) TBD
  • Jackie O’Neil, Department for Education Healthy Pupils Unit TBD
  • Conservative peer Lord Lexden – when he has secured an oral question (see below)

These meetings will allow us to discuss a variety of topics, including the School Food Standards, the European School Milk Scheme, and the Nursery Milk Scheme, and the Eatwell Guide. We will continue to secure further meetings over the coming months.

Queen’s Speech – Education for All Bill

May saw the State Opening of Parliament, during which the Queen’s Speech set out the bills that the Government intends to bring forward during the current Parliamentary session. The most relevant legislation for the School and Nursery Milk Alliance is the Education for All Bill, which is designed to improve education standards, advance the academies programme and deliver a new schools funding formula.

Whilst measures related to School Food Standards are not expected to be contained within the bill, this is likely to be a good hook for raising the profile of milk within Parliament. When we met with Jenny Chapman MP, the Shadow Childcare Minister, we discussed the possibility of tabling amendments to relevant bills such as this, for example requiring a report to Parliament each year evaluating the impact of the school food standards by region/take up. While it is unlikely that such an amendment will ultimately be passed into law, it will offer a good opportunity to discuss the role of school milk in Parliament and highlight the benefit of proper implementation of the School Food Standards. The Bill is expected to be published in the Autumn and we will look to prepare draft amendments ahead of this.

House of Lords oral questions

Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Benjamin has secured an oral question in the House of Lords on 7th June, on the topic of strategies to keep children’s teeth healthy. As other peers will have the opportunity to ask supplementary questions, this is a useful opportunity to highlight the role of school milk in supporting dental health in children. We have drafted a number of supplementary questions on this topic and are approaching peers we have previously met or engaged with, including Baroness Masham, Shadow Education Minister Lord Watson, and Lord Lexden.

Lord Lexden had also agreed that he would put down an oral question specifically on the topic of school milk once the new Parliamentary session had started. We have been in touch with him to discuss supplementary questions, and he has said that he will use one of his allocation for this session on school milk. Once he has secured his question, we will approach other peers to ask them to table supplementary questions.

House of Commons written questions

The Alliance has drafted written questions on the Eatwell Guide – questioning its impact on the consumption of milk by children – and on the European School Milk Scheme – asking about the Government’s future plans for the development of a new strategy to implement the revised scheme. We have approached MPs to table these questions and expect them to be tabled following the Whitsun recess.

Drop in event

The Alliance is planning to hold a drop-in event in Parliament, with the aim of meeting a good number of MPs at the same event. We will be looking to provide MPs with information on the levels of childhood obesity and dental health within their constituency, to highlight the benefits of milk, and to share some research we have commissioned into milk and children. We are looking to secure a date for this in November, once the research has been finalised.

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