European School Milk Scheme
During our meeting with Defra, we received confirmation from the Department that they intended to continue to participate in the EU scheme until the UK leave the EU. They will implement some small changes to the scheme to reflect the requirements of the new EU rules, with a consultation starting in January 2017, ahead of the implementation date of July 2017. This will include some changes to the administration of the scheme, but the current aid level and range of products will remain the same. Defra will also consult at the same time on the draft national strategy which needs to be submitted to the European Commission, but they do not expect that this will make major changes to the scheme.
Once the new scheme is in place, Defra will then consider what to replace the scheme with once the UK leaves the EU, drawing on input from stakeholders across the sector. This will be a chance to more fundamentally re-think the scheme.
Overall it was a positive meeting, with Defra officials expressing a willingness to work with stakeholders across the sector to design a post-EU scheme which reflects the needs of the UK. We will continue to keep in touch with the officials in the coming months to ensure that the SNMA can help shape the future of the scheme.
October also saw us circulate to members an overview of the consultation on the Implementation Act element of the legislation that will support the new EU School Scheme for Milk, Fruit & Vegetables.
Westminster Hall debate and House of Lords oral question
During October Scott Mann, Conservative MP for North Cornwall, led a debate in Westminster Hall on the effect of the UK leaving the EU on agriculture and fishing in the south west. We briefed Mr Mann prior to the debate, but milk was not raised specifically during the debate.
On 1st November, Baroness Benjamin asked the Government an oral question on their strategy for supporting children’s dental health. We briefed Lord Watson and Baroness Masham, who we have met, and Lord Lexden, who has supported us in the past, and provided them with follow-up questions concerning the contribution milk can make towards children’s dental health. However, milk was not mentioned during this debate.

School Food APPG
On 16th November, Dr Hilary will address the APPG on School Food. We are currently preparing material to support the engagement.

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