Members updates

November 2018
 

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced his Autumn Budget last month, which included a greater loosening of the purse strings than anticipated, as he reiterated Prime Minister, Theresa May’s, message that austerity is coming to an end.
 
Schools have been given a £400 million in-year bonus for teachers to support them in buying the “little extras”. This funding equates to an average of £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary school. Hammond commended 86% of schools now being rated good or outstanding, and also pledged funding to the teaching of the Holocaust “and the British soldiers who liberated them.” Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, has criticised the funding by saying it “isn’t really extra but it is certainly little” while the NEU Joint General Secretary, Kevin Courtney, has said that this payment will do “nothing” to address that capital available to schools has been cut by a third, figures confirmed by the NAO last year. The NHS has been given a funding boost, although we’ll have to wait until the end of the year to find out what will be prioritised with the money in the NHS’s Ten-Year Plan.  New Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, Matt Hancock, did provide some insight into his thinking in an interview with The Telegraph, where he highlighted: prevention, technology, collaboration and personal responsibility as his key priorities.
 
School milk subsidies post-Brexit have been secured in the short-term, meaning that children will continue to enjoy the health and cognitive benefits of school milk beyond the UK’s departure from the EU. We detail this development below.

Want to keep up to date with relevant developments in the sector and the SNMA’s activity? Stay in-the-loop and show your support by liking our Facebook page or by following us on Twitter

Parliamentary Engagement

We have secured, and are in the process of organising, a meeting with Labour MP for Blaydon, Liz Twist. Liz had participated in...
 
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School Milk Scheme replacement campaign
  
  
Following engagement with the Alliance regarding World School Milk Day, Helen Jones, Labour MP for Warrington North, tabled Parliamentary Questions seeking assurances ...
  
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School Food Standards

The Alliance has chased on its FOI Request project asking schools what measures they take to ensure they fulfil their obligations under the School Food Standards to make milk available to pupils every day. We are finding that a startling...



Plastic Packaging

Ahead of Defra launching its consultation on proposals to ban single-use plastic straws, the Alliance heard that the Government was considering this. We wrote to Chancellor, Philip Hammond, to highlight the need...

October 2018
 

  
Children, parents, dairy producers, and education settings across the globe celebrated World School Milk Day in September, with the Alliance’s UK members, such as the National Farmers’ Union, Dairy UK, and Cool Milk showcasing their involvement with school milk and highlighting the importance of ensuring that children continue to enjoy the benefits of school milk.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published its Agriculture Bill in the past month, outlining the UK’s post-Brexit agriculture policy. The Bill does not include a replacement for the EU school milk subsidy scheme, meaning that children’s access to milk in education settings could cease when we leave the EU in March 2019. The Alliance and its members are campaigning to prevent this from happening, including supporting petitions which can be found below.

It was also party conference season last month, with both Labour and Conservative Party Conferences focusing on Brexit, although neither party has yet made progress on agreeing how they believe it should be delivered. In the world of school milk, Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, announced that Labour would end the creation of new academies and free schools, with the aim to bring an increasing number of academies back under local authority control. The Party also guaranteed 30 hours free childcare for families each week and further promoted their vision for a National Education Service.

Want to keep up to date with relevant developments in the sector and the SNMA’s activity? Stay in-the-loop and show your support by liking our Facebook page or by following us on Twitter

World School Milk Day
  

The Alliance reached out to MPs and Peers inviting them to celebrate with us. 16 Parliamentarians used our template tweet to show their support, namely...
 
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School Milk Scheme replacement campaign
  
  
The Alliance was both surprised and disappointed that Defra’s Agriculture Bill does not include a domestic replacement to the EU school milk subsidy scheme currently enjoyed by British children. The Alliance has written to Defra Secretary, Michael Gove, to...
  
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Nursery Milk Scheme

We are still awaiting news on the upcoming consultation on proposed changes to school milk. In the meantime, the Alliance has supported...



Promoting Dairy

The Alliance has reached out to key stakeholders in education and child health to introduce our organisation, aims and current policy concerns, and invites collaboration to...

September 2018
 

  
To keep up to date with relevant developments in the sector and the SNMA’s activity, as well as show your support, please like our Facebook page which can be found here or follow us on Twitter @SchoolMilkAll.
 
Parliament has been on recess this month, but preparations for Brexit have continued as both the UK and the EU make provisions for a possible no-deal Brexit. The UK Government published guidance for the public and businesses on how to deal with such an eventuality, and media attention has focused on the Government planning to stockpile certain goods, including medicines. As we enter party conference season, the Brexit positions of both the Conservative and Labour and the differences within both parties will continue to be under the spotlight. The UK and the EU have agreed to extend the deadline for a deal from October to November and have increased the frequency of negotiation meetings between both sides.
 
The Government has announced plans to ban the sales of energy drinks to children and young people in attempt to reduce consumption of the drinks which are being attributed to a range of health and behavioural issues arising in Britain’s youth. Such issues include: headaches, stomach ulcers and poor concentration. British children are some of highest consumers of energy drinks in Europe. With the ban looking set to go ahead, the Government is inviting feedback on whether the ban should cover children up to the age of 16 or 18. The Alliance will make the case that milk provides a healthy and filling alternative to energy drinks.

School Food Standards
  

The Alliance has responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on proposed revisions to its School Food Standards...
 
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School Milk Scheme replacement campaign
  
  
The Northern Irish Executive has launched a consultation on its post-Brexit agriculture policy in which it references the School Milk Scheme, citing that...
  
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Nursery Milk Scheme

This month we continue to help education settings that have had the processing of their reimbursement claims suspended pending validation checks...



Promoting Dairy

The Alliance visited member, Dairy UK’s, offices this month to meet with its Chair, Paul Vernon, and Chief Executive, Dr. Judith Bryans...

August 2018
 

    
To keep up to date with relevant developments in the sector and the SNMA’s activity, as well as show your support, like our Facebook page which can be found here or follow us on Twitter @SchoolMilkAll.
 
There have been high-profile changes in Government personnel this month, including the resignation of Brexit Secretary, David Davis, and Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. Davis has been replaced by Dominic Raab and the role has since been formally demoted to a deputising one in Brexit negotiations with the EU with the Prime Minister making clear that she intends to take the lead from now on. Boris Johnson has been replaced by Jeremy Hunt, who had established himself as the longest-serving Health Secretary in British history.
 
Matt Hancock has been appointed as the new Health and Social Care Secretary, having moved over from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Hancock has outlined his immediate priorities for the Department as addressing problems facing the workforce which is leading to a recruitment and retention crisis, and the digital transformation of the NHS.
 
This has come as it was revealed that the Government is planning to consult on changes to the nursery milk scheme. Initial reports were that the scheme might be scrapped or reduced, but we have since found out through liaising with the Department of Health and Social Care, which manages the scheme, that the proposed changes will not include changing the eligibility, quality or quantity of the milk provided under the scheme. Instead, it will be on how to reduce administrative costs and potentially include a proposed price cap to keep costs down. This could inadvertently reduce the provision of nursery milk and so we are campaigning to rally public support for nursery milk and ensure that any changes that might reduce consumption will be mitigated.
 
The Alliance held its quarterly meeting with members this month, where information was shared, discussions were had, and decisions were made with regards to how to defend nursery milk from the threats it is currently facing.
  
      
School Food Standards
  

The SNMA has chased up on and started analysing responses to the FOI requests we sent out in May. The request was sent to 50 randomly-selected schools...
 
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Nursery Milk Scheme

  
This month reports leaked to the press that the Government is planning to consult on changes to the Nursery Milk Scheme with the view to reduce the price...
  
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Dietary Advice

The Alliance has organised a meeting with Paul Vernon...



July 2018
 

    
To keep up to date with relevant developments in the sector and the SNMA’s activity, as well as show your support, like our Facebook page which can be found here or follow us on Twitter @SchoolMilkAll.
 
The NHS has been celebrating its 70th birthday, and the British public have joined policymakers and the NHS workforce to express their support for one of the country’s most popular institutions. As the fifth biggest employer in the world, it treats 1.5 million patients a day. We are pleased to be able to work with NHS bodies to ensure milk is seen as part of the solution to the pressures currently facing the health of the nation.
 
The Government has published the second chapter of its Childhood Obesity Plan, building on the work of the first chapter which was published in August 2016 and was criticised as being too weak.  It has subsequently had limited outcomes. Figures show that one in five children now start primary school and one in three children leave primary school overweight or obese, and one in 25 children are severely obese. It is estimated that childhood obesity costs the UK economy £27 billion a year and the NHS £5 billion.  Obesity is now the second biggest cause of premature death after smoking.
      
Parliamentary activity
  

This month this Alliance met with the Office of Sir David Amess, the Conservative MP for Southend West, and Chair of the Food and Health APPG
 
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European School Milk Scheme

  
Now that Defra has closed its public consultation on the Future of Food, Farming and the Environment, we are waiting for their response...
  
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Nursery Milk and School Food Standards

The SNMA has responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on how to devolve welfare foods provisions to Scotland.



Eatwell Guide
   
Our parliamentary supporter, the Conservative MP for North Cornwall and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dairy, Scott Mann...

Reception Class Campaign
   
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June 2018
 

    
To keep up to date with relevant developments in the sector and the SNMA’s activity, as well as show your support, like our Facebook page which can be found here or follow us on Twitter @SchoolMilkAll.
 
This month, Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, became the UK’s longest-serving Health Secretary of all time, beating Norman Fowler’s previous record of 5 years and 272 days in the role, so it will be a double celebration for Mr. Hunt after he was cleared this week by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and will now not face any sanctions after apologising for the late reporting of his pecuniary interest in Mare Pond, a property company.
 
The Health Select Committee has published its report, ‘Childhood Obesity: Time for Action’, in which it calls for the soft drinks industry levy to include ‘milk-based drinks which have extra sugar added’. The SNMA responded to the Committee’s consultation informing this report, in which it highlighted the evidence suggesting that children consuming milk can help them maintain a healthy weight, and called for children to be encouraged to drink plain milk in the event that the exemption for milk-based drinks on the Soft Drinks Industry Levy be reduced.
    
Parliamentary activity
  

We have listed all of our parliamentary supporters on the SNMA website to demonstrate the extent of our support in Westminster. These Parliamentarians have signed up to be members and now get our monthly updates on activity in the policy space.
 
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European School Milk Scheme

  
The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said that it received 44,000 responses to the proposals which sets out the Department’s post-Brexit agriculture policy. The consultation included proposals to redirect payments...
  
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Nursery Milk and School Food Standards

The SNMA, represented by our spokesperson Dr Hilary Jones and the Secretariat, had a meeting in City Hall with the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s Healthy Schools London Unit representatives, Alison Strafford and Liz Prosser.



Eatwell Guide
   
We have asked Conservative MP for North Cornwall and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dairy, Scott Mann, to write to the Public Health Minister, Steve Brine, highlighting the misleading advice on dairy given... 

May 2018
 

    
To keep up to date with relevant developments in the sector and the SNMA’s activity, as well as show your support, like our Facebook page which can be found hereWe have also just launched our Twitter page, which you can find @SchoolMilkAll.
 
Amber Rudd resigned as Home Secretary on Sunday in the wake of the Windrush Scandal. In her resignation letter she conceded that she had “inadvertently misled” MPs when giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, during which she had said she was unaware of any Home Office targets for removing illegal migrants. However, in a leaked letter from January 2017 that Rudd sent to the Prime Minister it transpires she committed to a 10% higher target than her predecessor achieved.
 
Ms Rudd has been replaced with Sajid Javid, who has made efforts to distance himself from his predecessor’s approach by saying that he is “angry too” at the treatment of the Windrush generation. He has also tipped the balance in the ‘Brexit Cabinet Committee’. The first meeting since Ms Rudd’s resignation ended in MPs blocking Prime Minister, Theresa May’s, plans regarding the Customs Union in Brexit negotiations. Mr Javid has been replaced as the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary by James Brokenshire, a close ally of the Prime Minister who stepped down as Northern Ireland Secretary in January due to illness.
 
Celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, who rose to fame through promoting healthy school meals gave oral evidence to the Health & Social Care Select Committee along with fellow celebrity chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, in which the two called the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan a “massive disappointment” and showed the Committee two sweet milk-based drinks that respectively contained nine and 10 teaspoons of sugar.  They argued that milk-based drinks should no longer be exempted from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy. This is supported by George Osborne, the former Chancellor who developed the idea of the sugar tax, saying that he believed it should be extended to milk-based drinks.
  
Parliamentary activity
  
  
We have received responses following our engagement with the new Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, and Children’s Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, where we congratulated them on their recent appointments...
 
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European School Milk Scheme

  
We have submitted our response to Defra’s Future of food, farming and the environment consultation which is part of the Department’s preparations for post-Brexit agriculture policy. Positively, the consultation... 
  
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Nursery Milk and School Food Standards

We have organised a meeting which will be attended by our spokesperson Dr Hilary Jones, the Secretariat and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s Healthy Schools London team in City Hall. This will give us a chance...





April 2018
 

    
To keep up to date with relevant developments in the sector and the SNMA’s activity, as well as show your support, like our Facebook page which can be found here.
 
The Chancellor gave his Spring Statement on the Budget in March in which he confirmed expectations that the UK economy is set to grow more strongly than predicted in 2018 with public finances improved. The main points of interest to Cool Milk and the SNMA are the launch of a consultation on a possible tax on single-use plastics, and on potential alterations to the subsidies granted to red diesel used exclusively by farmers.  
 
The debate about the Government’s changes to the eligibility criteria of Free School Meals has continued this month. The Government’s proposals change the assessment for free school meal eligibility being based on the number of hours a household has worked to instead basing it means-testing households’ earnings before state benefits. Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, secured a debate on the subject this week as Labour campaigned to make all the children in households that are in receipt of Universal Credit eligible for Free School Meals, as is currently the situation as a transition arrangement. MPs voted the motion to extend eligibility down by 312 votes to 254. The following week, Peers debated the matter. Labour’s Lord Bassam of Brighton tabled the motion that the House of Lords ‘regrets the Government’s decision to implement the changes and calls for them to be postponed pending a full impact assessment’. Peers voted in favour of the motion 167-160. The Institute for Fiscal Studies in collaboration with the Children’s Commissioner has published analysis this week which indicates that the plans will result in 210,000 more children becoming eligible under the Government’s changes, conversely, however, 160,000 children of the 1.3 million previously eligible will lose their eligibility.
 
The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on welfare foods and meeting the needs of children and families in Scotland, in which it reviews the nursery milk scheme. It proposes to expand the scope of both schemes, thereby significantly increasing the number of children eligible for free and subsidised milk. The SNMA will submit a response to the consultation supporting the proposals. 
  
Parliamentary activity
  
We wrote to the new Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, and Children’s Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, congratulating them on their recent appointments to the...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

  
We have contacted the new CEO of SNMA members, Dairy UK, Paul Vernon, introducing the Alliance and inviting increased collaboration in promoting school... 
  
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Nursery Milk and School Food Standards

We have submitted a paragraph outlining the work of the Alliance and the importance of school milk to the London Healthy Schools unit, which will be included...

  
 
Eatwell Guide
   
We have received correspondence from the office of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in response to our letter to him highlighting the contribution school milk...





March 2018
 

    
To keep up to date with relevant developments in the sector and the SNMA’s activity, as well as show your support, like our Facebook page which can be found here.
 
Defra has launched a consultation on the future of food, farming and the environment to inform its post-Brexit agriculture policy. Defra is one of the departments most affected by Brexit, as a large amount of its policy was affected by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The consultation reiterates the Government’s commitment to continue to provide farmers with the financial support they currently receive under the EU until 2022, which is three years after the UK leaves the EU, and also sets out an “agricultural transition” of the years immediately following 2022 in order to provide “stability and certainty for farmers.”
 
The proposals include replacing the direct payments made under the CAP, which controversially paid farmers according to the land they owned, with a system to incentivise sustainable and environmentally sound practice. It also suggests incentivising making the countryside accessible to the public, productivity and animal welfare standards. The consultation asks for views on this and how it can be implemented.
 
The EU school milk scheme is referred to in the consultation, under “Risk management and resilience” as it outlines the measures used by the EU to stabilise markets. The specific questions it asks on risk management and resilience include:
 
What additional skills, data and tools would help better manage volatility in agricultural production and revenues for (a) farm businesses and (b) insurance providers?
 
How can current arrangements for managing market crises and providing crisis support be improved?
 
The SNMA will be submitting a response to the consultation to highlight the importance of replacing the EU school milk scheme with a domestic programme.
   
Parliamentary activity
  
This month we sent out meeting requests to MPs with a high level of dairy production in their constituency in order to appeal to more Conservative MPs. We have also engaged with Parliamentarians who are members of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on School Food... 
 
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European School Milk Scheme

We have received further responses from our engagement with Welsh Assembly Members. Plaid Cymru’s Spokesperson for Rural Affairs, Simon Thomas, shared a response from the Welsh Government to the letter we drafted asking for commitment on a replacement to the EU school milk scheme after Brexit.  
  
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Nursery Milk and School Food Standards

We have contacted the Child Obesity unit in the Department of Health and Social Care, introducing the Alliance, explaining the contribution school and nursery milk makes to tackling child obesity...

  
 
Eatwell Guide
   
We have prepared for our meeting with Professor Ian Givens, a nutritional specialist from the University of Reading, for 7th March. The aim of the meeting is to discuss the potential of working together to highlight...





February 2018
 

  
To keep up to date with relevant developments in the sector and the SNMA’s activity as well as show your support, like our Facebook page which can be found here.
 
Prime Minister Theresa May carried out a Cabinet reshuffle this month which saw significant changes to the Department for Education and moderate changes to the Department of Health. Damian Hinds replaced Justine Greening as the Education Secretary, and Children’s Minister Robert Goodwill was replaced by Nadhim Zahawi. The Department of Health was given the social care brief and became the Department of Health and Social Care. Philip Dunne was removed from the Department and Stephen Barclay and Caroline Dinenage joined as junior ministers, while Public Health Minister Steve Brine remained in his post. The Defra ministerial team remained unchanged, with Michael Gove as Defra Secretary; George Eustice as Farming, Fisheries and Food Minister. We have amended our stakeholder maps and will engage with new ministers as appropriate.
 
The Government has published its 25-year environment plan which outlined its strategy to develop “a cleaner, greener Britain.” It committed to creating “plastic-free [supermarket] aisles,” £7bn funding for research and development into “plastics innovation,” and promoting sustainable land management and countryside care. The document also outlines plans to encourage children to “be close to nature, in and out of school”. The document references farms, stating that, “farms in both rural and urban locations host groups of school children and share their knowledge about the environment and where food comes from”. The Environmental Audit Committee have since launched an inquiry on the matter to look at how it can promote reducing the use of plastic. Although the plan did not directly reference milk, it might impact on how it will be packaged and priced in the future.
 
Parliamentary activity
  
We had a positive meeting with Scott Mann, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dairy. We introduced the Alliance and the range of organisations it represents...
 
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European School Milk Scheme

We briefed Welsh Assembly Members who are engaged in the Health, Social Care and Sport, the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the Children...
  
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Nursery Milk and School Food Standards

We have submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on its obesity strategy. In our response, we: voiced our support for the...

  
 
Eatwell Guide
   
We have arranged a meeting with Professor Ian Givens, a nutritional specialist from the University of Reading for 7th March. In the meeting...





January 2018
 

To keep up to date with relevant developments in the sector and the SNMA’s activity as well as show your support, like our Facebook page which can be found here.
 
This month Parliament has been on recess for the festive period and so the meeting our Scott Mann that was postponed in November has been rescheduled for January. As he is the chair of the Dairy APPG we hope to raise how a domestic replacement to the EU school milk scheme is important for children and dairy farmers, and also to question the revised and reduced recommendation in dairy consumption in the Eatwell Guide.
 
Defra Secretary Michael Gove has started the new year by addressing the Oxford Farming Conference 2018 and committing to protecting the funding currently enjoyed by farmers up until 2022. He did not mention school milk specifically, but he noted he had introduced the School Food Plan when he was Education Secretary and reiterated his commitment to ensuring children are encouraged to make healthy decisions and learn about the origin and nutritional value of the food they eat. We will continue to remind him how a domestic replacement to the EU school milk scheme can help him fulfil this aim.
 
We received a response from the Department of Health to our request for data on the uptake of nursery milk. They have supplied us with the data on consumption by postcode, which we will analyse with the view to using it to inform our future activity.
 
We have drafted a response to the consultation by HMRC welcoming the proposed changes to the eligibility criteria for free school meals as part of the role out of Universal Credit, which will result in more children getting school milk and children who would be affected by the proposed criteria having their eligibility protected. We are also drafting a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on its obesity strategy to highlight the importance of encouraging milk consumption, particularly in light of its plans to increase the impact that the Soft Drinks Levy has on milk-based drinks.
        
Parliamentary activity
  
Our meeting with Scott Mann MP, the chair of the Dairy APPG, had to be postponed due to diary conflicts. It has now been re-arranged for 9th January. 
 
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European School Milk Scheme

We have drafted a letter to send to Welsh Assembly Members asking for them to support our campaign in the Welsh Assembly. It introduces the SNMA and our goals...
  
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Nursery Milk and School Food Standards

We have received a response to our request to the Department of Health asking for data on the uptake of nursery milk. They have provided us the uptake by postcode

  
 
Eatwell Guide
   
We have sent a letter to Professor Ian Givens, a nutritional specialist from the University of Reading to discuss the potential...





December 2017
 

This month we hosted our parliamentary drop-in event to engage with parliamentarians and secure support for the SNMA’s campaign a replacement for the EU School Milk Scheme after Brexit. Nine parliamentarians attended, and several of these have subsequently shown their support for the campaign on social media. 
 
We held a meeting with Jackie O’Neil and Cat Byrne from the Healthy Pupils Unit in Department for Education, as well as other policy advisers from the department, to catch up on a range of activity, including the School Food Standards, the recently launched consultation on free school meals, the early years nutrition guidance and the projects being funded by the soft drinks levy.
 
Defra Minister, George Eustice, has responded to the SNMA’s open letter to Defra asking for details on a replacement for the EU school milk scheme, which we sent ahead of World School Milk Day. In the letter we included ComRes polling which showed that there was public support for the replacement of the scheme. Mr Eustice was positive about school milk in his response and informed us that the issue is still under consideration but that any future changes to school milk subsidies will be subject to consultation. 
 
There has been a significant breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations this month, as the EU and UK have reached a provisional agreement on issues including the Irish border, citizens rights and the “divorce” settlement. The European Commission has now recommended that the talks can move to discussing a longer-term trade deal, although this still needs to be approved by the Parliament and the Council. months of stagnation and disagreement, the news has been welcomed across industry and the continent. The talks will now move onto the future trade agreement, with 15 months until the UK is due to leave the EU.
      
Parliamentary activity
  
Over the last month, we contacted parliamentarians and civil servants with a range of communications:

Our meeting with Scott Mann MP...
 
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European School Milk Scheme

We have received a response from Defra Minister, George Eustice, to the letter we wrote to Michael Gove on World School Milk Day, asking for assurances on a replacement...
  
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Nursery Milk and School Food Standards

We met with Jackie O’Neil and Cat Byrne of the Healthy Pupils Unit, Andy Hudson from the Free School Meals unit, and Sarah Campbell, Policy Advisor for Early Years and Childcare...

  
  
Eatwell Guide
   
Following our previous engagement on the Eatwell Guide, we are drafting a letter to approach a nutritionist to discuss working together to highlight the health benefits of milk and its role in a healthy diet, to combat the negative messages about dairy in the guide.




November 2017
 

The World Dairy Summit was hosted in Belfast this month and Defra Secretary, Michael Gove, said that he would work to ensure that milk is available to children in UK schools after Brexit. We previously wrote to Mr Gove asking him to commit to a replacement for the EU School Milk Scheme, and the Department have informed us that a response is being prepared at the moment.
 
We have secured sponsorship from Mary Glindon, the former Shadow Farming Minister, to host a drop-in event for MPs and peers on 28th November We have drafted different invitations to MPs, including tailored invites for those with high levels of deprivation in their constituencies and those where dairy farming is important to the local economy. We have compiled and ranked the national statistics for child tooth decay and child obesity to show individual MPs how their constituency performs.
 
We have written to DfE’s policy lead on Ofsted’s thematic review of obesity, healthy eating and physical activity in schools to highlight the importance of school milk.
    
Parliamentary activity
  
Over the last month, we contacted parliamentarians across the UK with a range of communications:

In late October we met with... 
 
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European School Milk Scheme

We have been chasing Defra to secure a meeting with civil servants to discuss a replacement for the EU school milk scheme, as they previously suggested that they would be in a position...
  
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Nursery Milk

Alex Cunningham, the MP for Stockton North visited Redhill Day Nursery on 5th October to celebrate World School Milk Day. He handed out school milk to the children there and commented on how school milk helps to give children a better start in life.
  
  
Eatwell Guide
   
Scott Mann, the MP for North Cornwall, was informally appointed at the chair of the Dairy APPG as the meeting was not quorate at its Annual General Meeting on 17th October. As mentioned above, we have secured a meeting with him for November.
  
  

School Food Standards

We have sent a letter to Nick Ceadel, the lead of the Ofsted thematic on obesity, healthy eating and physical activity in schools, to highlight the importance of milk within... 
 


October 2017
 

World School Milk Day was celebrated on 27th September, with the School and Nursery Milk Alliance using this as an opportunity to highlight the importance of securing a replacement for the EU School Milk Scheme once the UK leaves the EU.

We used a combination of a letter to the Secretary of State Michael Gove, polling, media activity and MP visits to get this message across. We are also looking to arrange a meeting with Defra to further discuss the department’s plans for post-EU school milk, following on from the constructive meeting we held after the referendum last year. We have also approached MSPs to help secure the Scottish Government’s support for a new scheme.
 
Parliament returned from recess to sit for two weeks, before breaking again for party conferences. Shadow Farming Minister Mary Glindon used the period to table some further written questions on school milk. We approached a range of MPs during this period and are currently in the process of chasing these to secure meetings later in October – with one meeting with a member of the Education Select Committee secured so far.      
Parliamentary activity

 Over the last month, we contacted parliamentarians across the UK with a range of communications:

A new set of meeting requests to MPs: these will request opportunities to brief...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

With World School Milk Day taking place on 27th September, the theme the SNMA chose for this year was the need for the Government to provide certainty about a replacement for the EU School Milk Scheme...
  
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Nursery Milk

Two of the World School Milk Day visits have been arranged for pre-school settings, ensuring that we continue to highlight the importance of the Nursery Milk Scheme for under-fives.
  


  
Eatwell Guide
  
The Dairy APPG will be electing a new chair on 17th October, after the previous meeting on 5th September was postponed...
  


School Food Standards

 We have drafted a letter to Nick Ceadel, the lead of the Ofsted thematic on obesity, healthy eating and physical activity in schools, to highlight the importance of milk within the School Food Standards...
 


September 2017
 

This month, the new European School Milk Scheme – officially known as the EU School Fruit, Vegetables and Milk Scheme – came into force across the EU. This followed an extensive series of consultations which the SNMA contributed to, to help shape the new scheme.
 
In the UK, the Westminster and devolved parliaments and assemblies were in recess. We have taken this opportunity to draft new material to support engagement with MPs and Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), as well as to further develop our activity plan for World School Milk Day on 27th September. The latter will include supporting visits by MP to schools in their local constituencies. Additionally, we received a response to an inquiry we made to the Department of Health requesting nursery milk statistics, which confirmed that officials are exploring options to provide us with Nursery Milk Scheme uptake data.
 
Developments have continued during recess, with the British Government publishing a series of position papers outlining their stance on issues including the Irish border, the customs union and future legal relations with the EU. Meanwhile, Labour have shifted their Brexit stance, committing to a transition period where the UK remains in the single market and customs union following its departure from the EU – a contrast to the current Conservative policy of leaving both bodies in March 2019. Additionally, Scotland and Wales have this month joined forces to pledge to compel the Westminster Government to grant them many of the policy powers currently held by the EU when Brexit occurs – including control over agriculture. This is particularly important for school milk, any future school milk subsidy scheme is likely to be administered and funded through post-Brexit agriculture arrangements.
    
Parliamentary activity
 
We are preparing to send out three new communications to parliamentarians:

A new set of meeting requests to MPs: these will request opportunities to brief...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

As noted last month, the new EU School Milk Scheme – officially known as the EU School Fruit, Vegetables and Milk Scheme to reflect the merger of the previously separate programmes...
  
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Nursery Milk

Following our letter to the Department of Health requesting statistics on uptake of the Nursery Milk Scheme, we have received a response from nursery milk lead Becky Farren... 


  
Eatwell Guide
  
We are continuing our engagement with Dairy UK on their scientific analysis of the Eatwell Guide’s recommendation to reduce dairy intake...
  


School Food Standards
 
We will be arranging a catch-up meeting in the autumn with the Department for Education to discuss progress on the revisions to the School Food Standards for England and the new Healthy Rating Scheme for primary schools...
 


World School Milk Day

World School Milk Day 2017 will be held on Wednesday 27th September. The SNMA well be engaged in a variety of activity, including the supporting of member schools in hosting their local MP to celebrate WSMD...




August 2017
 

This month, the Alliance met with Education Select Committee member and Labour MP Ian Mearns, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Peter Dowd MP, and the Parliamentary Assistant of Conservative MP and chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee Neil Parish. Additionally, two oral and two written parliamentary questions on school milk were put forward by SNMA supporter and Shadow Farming Minister Mary Glindon.
 
Also in July, the Government published the statutory instrument enabling the new European School Milk Scheme to come into force in England and Northern Ireland; and the Welsh Government took similar steps to implement the scheme in Wales. Together with the statutory instrument published by the Scottish Government in June, this legislation enabled the new scheme to be launched across the UK on 1st August.
 
July has featured a near-continuous political focus on Brexit. Chancellor Phillip Hammond has stated that the UK will seek a transition period following Britain’s departure from the block in March 2019 to ensure a smooth exit. During this window – which Mr Hammond said would not continue beyond the next scheduled election in June 2022 – Mr Hammond hopes that current trade provisions with the EU will broadly remain in place whilst new arrangements are made. However, there is significant disagreement within the Cabinet on the issue, so the final outcome is hard to predict. The Government also published the Repeal Bill, which will both end the supremacy of EU law in Britain and bring most existing EU law onto the UK statute books.
  
Parliamentary activity
 
Meetings and parliamentary engagements - We held two meetings on 5th July: Peter Dowd MP Labour MP for Bootle – an area which has high levels of deprivation... 
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

Following an extensive set of consultations, during which the SNMA responded to requests for comment from the European Commission, Defra, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government, the final steps were taken this month...
  
Read more...



Nursery Milk

Most of the procedural and technical issues with the new Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit have been resolved, but some earlier issues and claims are still outstanding. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will be in touch with the Department for Health again...


  
Eatwell Guide

We have written to Dairy UK to request an update on their scientific analysis of the Eatwell Guide’s recommendation to reduce dairy intake. During our meeting with him, Ian Mearns expressed an interest in the changes to the guide...



School Food Standards
 
We have engaged with Linda Cregan of the School Food Plan Alliance’s (SFPA) to obtain an update in their work, and Ms Cregan and her co-chair Jeanette Orrey have agreed to brief us further at a future SNMA meeting...
 


World School Milk Day

World School Milk Day 2017 will be held on Wednesday 27th September, and the SNMA’s preparations are well underway. Our activities will focus on the need for a post-Brexit school milk scheme, among other issues...



Social Media

  
As part of our engagement efforts, we have re-launched the SNMA Facebook page . Please feel free to ‘like’ us, and to pass on any school and nursery milk related material you would like us to share.



July 2017
 

This month, Defra provided us with the opportunity to comment on the strategy and supporting documents for new EU School Milk Scheme, which will be implemented from August 2017. The Alliance provided feedback to requests for comment on the strategy, emphasising that we were broadly happy with the direction of travel. We have also arranged three parliamentary meetings for July.

The political focus during June was the general election and its aftermath. Following Theresa May’s surprise loss of her majority, the Conservatives struck a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for support on key votes – allowing the Conservatives to run a minority government. This facilitated the passing of a much paired-back Queen’s Speech which contained plans a post-Brexit agriculture bill to replace the CAP – an important avenue for a potential new school milk scheme. New ministers of relevance to the SNMA have also been appointed, with Michael Gove now the new Defra Secretary, Robert Goodwill the new Children’s Minister and Steve Brine now the Public Health Minister.
Parliamentary activity
 
Meetings and parliamentary engagements - With the return of parliament, we have now recommenced our engagement programme.
  
We have two meetings on 5th July: Peter Dowd MP Labour MP for Bootle – an area which has high levels of deprivation... 
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

Shortly after the election, Defra offered the SNMA the opportunity to comment on the new EU School Milk Scheme national strategy, as well as copies of new guidance and supporting forms. As Defra had previously informed us, there were few changes to the current programme. The key points to note were...
  
Read more...



Nursery Milk

We are continuing to monitor the Department of Health’s efforts to address the problems we identified with the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit, and will be engaging with them shortly to ensure that these issues have been resolved...


  
Eatwell Guide

It has been announced that Steve Brine has replaced Nicola Blackwood as Public Health Minister. With the APPGs in parliament now reconvening, we will be reengaging with the Dairy APPG to consider an approach to the minister to discuss the guide...



School Food Standards
 
We have engaged with Linda Cregan of the School Food Plan Alliance’s (SFPA) to obtain an update in their work, and Ms Cregan and her co-chair Jeanette Orrey have agreed to brief us further at a future SNMA meeting...
 

June 2017
 

This month, the Scottish and Welsh governments launched consultations on the implementation of the post-August 2017 European School Milk Scheme. The Alliance provided feedback to both, placing an emphasis on the need for changes to the existing scheme to be minimal, and the requirement for preparations to implement a new post-Brexit national school milk programme to begin as soon as possible. We have also so far secured the support of twelve parliamentary candidates for a new school milk scheme through our election engagement.
 
The political focus during May was on the general election. All of the main parties published their manifestos, with the Conservative announcement that it would withdraw free school meals for infants causing significant controversy – particularly given both Labour and the Lib Dem pledge to expand the programme to all primary pupils. The leading parties’ manifestos all contained policies relevant for school milk – with the question of how devolved agricultural powers would be distributed post-Brexit being the most prominent.
 
With the result of the 8th June vote declared, we now have the second hung parliament in seven years. After speaking to the Queen, Theresa May has said that she intends to continue on as Prime Minister with the support of the DUP. Even so, the majority the Conservatives will command even with the Northern Ireland party’s support will be less than a handful of votes. Another election in the coming months cannot be ruled out.
Parliamentary activity
 
Meetings and parliamentary engagements - As it is not possible to meet MPs during the election campaign, we are rescheduling those meetings we had previously set up. We have one meeting scheduled for 28th June: Peter Dowd, Labour MP for Bootle...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

We contacted Defra last month to express our concerns that the delay to the planned consultation on the post-August 2017 European School milk scheme will leave schools with little time to prepare, and request that they either communicate the likely changes to schools immediately, or postpone the implementation of the changes...

Read more...



Nursery Milk

We sent a letter to the Department of Health’s Health Foods Schemes last month highlighting that some of the issues we discussed about the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit during our recent meeting – including the issues facing the 400 settings with incorrect start dates and 1,500 settings which had claimed for November before September and October – still needed to be resolved...


  
Eatwell Guide

We are currently reviewing our research into the nutrition guides of other countries to make it more suitable for use in a public setting. Additionally, we have put together a shortlist of nutritionists who may be willing to support our objections to the Guide’s cut in the dairy allowance... 



School Food Standards
 
We are re-contacting the team at the Department for Education to request an update on the post-election timetable for the revisions to the School Food Standards, the Ofsted thematic review and the healthy rating scheme for primary schools. We will submit evidence to these programmes once the consultation windows open...
 

May 2017
 

This month, eight questions on school milk were tabled in the House of Commons by former Shadow Defra Secretary Maria Eagle, and a further question was tabled in the House of Lords by Lib Dem Education Spokesperson Lord Storey. Additionally, the Alliance arranged meetings with Education Select Committee member Ian Mearns MP, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Peter Dowd MP, and Conservative MP Neil Parish. Given the subsequent announcement of a General Election on 8th June, we are currently rescheduling the appointments for after polling day.
 
The surprise announcement of the snap General Election was the key political focus this month. Following Theresa May’s securing of parliamentary approval, campaigning quickly began, with Labour in particular focusing on the schools sector – notably through the provision of free school meals for primary pupils. We submitted proposals to the main opposition parties asking them to include measures to support and expand the uptake of school and nursery milk in their manifestos.
Parliamentary activity
 
Meetings and engagements - Parliament was in Easter recess for much of April. The announcement of the election on 18th April followed by the end of parliamentary business (prorogation) on 27th April has led us to reschedule those meetings we had set up for after recess. We have one meeting scheduled for 28th June: Peter Dowd, Labour MP for Bootle...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

Defra will now not be publishing the consultation on the post-August 2017 European School Milk Scheme until after the election due to the pre-election purdah period which means that the Government cannot make policy announcements. However, we have concerns that changes to the scheme – including new procedures such as having to submit evidence when making a claim instead of just keeping it on file – will leave schools with little time to prepare...

Read more...



Nursery Milk

Although we held a positive meeting with the Department of Health’s Health Foods Scheme team in March, some of the issues we discussed – including the issues facing the 400 settings with incorrect start dates and 1,500 settings which had claimed for November before September and October – still need to be resolved. Additionally, we are aware that currently schools are not allowed to enter attendance data until the end of the month, which will impact on claims for July due to the summer holidays starting in the middle of month...


  
Eatwell Guide

We have completed research into the nutrition guides of other countries, which highlighted the Eatwell Guide recommends a lower level of dairy consumption than average. We will look to take this outcome into a public arena in the near future... 



School Food Standards
 
The continuing delays to the revisions to the School Food Standards, the Ofsted thematic review and the healthy rating scheme for primary schools are likely to be further delayed due to the election...
 

April 2017
 

This month the Alliance supported a Westminster Hall debate on school and nursery milk, which was led by Shadow Farming Minister Mary Glindon MP with a response from Children’s Minister Edward Timpson MP.
 
Additionally, we met with former Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell MP, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson Lord Storey and former Defra Secretary Maria Eagle MP to discuss school and nursery milk policy. Four questions on school and nursery milk were asked in the House of Commons by Labour MPs Lucy Powell and Graham Allen. We also held a meeting with Department of Health officials to discuss ongoing problems with the new Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit arrangements.
 
Wider political developments included the UK’s submission of the Article 50 letter to the European Commission, which began the Brexit process, and the publication by the British Government of the Great Repeal Bill white paper. The latter failed to make clear where future powers over agricultural policy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would reside – this leaves uncertainty over the administration over a future school milk scheme.
Parliamentary activity
 
Meetings and engagements - We held three parliamentary meetings this month: Former Shadow Education Minister Lucy Powell MP (7th March). During the meeting, we discussed recent research which demonstrates the nutritional benefits of school milk, as well as the Alliance’s current policy priorities – including a replacement for the EU school milk scheme and the recent changes to the Eatwell Guide...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

The consultation on a post-August 2017 revised European School Milk Scheme hasn’t yet been published. We were told to expect it to be released “in the coming weeks” in the answer to a parliamentary question that was published at the end of February, although the minister was keen to emphasise that changes to current arrangements would be minimal...

Read more...



Nursery Milk

On 6th March, we met with representatives of the Department of Health’s Health Foods Scheme to discuss the problems with the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit. The meeting was positive, with those present agreeing that they had worked well together to resolve the issues with the new system...


  
School Food Standards
 
We received an update from Ofsted, who confirmed that the programme to carry out a thematic review of school food standards was still at the concept phase and did not currently require input.
 

March 2017
 

This month the Alliance has held meetings with the Shadow Farming Minister Mary Glindon and the office of Graham Allen MP to discuss our concerns surrounding current school and nursery milk policy. We have also been preparing for a meeting with the Department for Health official to discuss ongoing problems with the NMRU system. In addition, we have commenced work on an outline of what a new national school milk scheme could look like following the UK’s exit from the European Union. 
 
Five questions on school and nursery milk were answered in the House of Commons, and one in the House of Lords. The latter was a follow-up to an oral questions session held on school and nursery milk in January.
 
Wider political developments were led by House of Commons voting to approve the passage of the Brexit Bill. Shadow Defra Secretary Rachael Maskell defied a three-line whip to oppose the Bill and subsequently resigned, to be replaced by Sue Hayman MP. The Bill is now in the House of Lords, where peers defied the Government to approve an amendment to allow EU citizens to stay in the UK post-Brexit – however this is likely to be overturned when the Bill goes back to the Commons.
Parliamentary activity
 
Meetings and engagements - We held two parliamentary meetings this month: Mary Glindon MP, Shadow Farming Minister (7th February). The meeting focused on briefing Ms Glindon on our concerns about the school and nursery milk schemes and the Eatwell Guide...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk

The consultation on the revised European School Milk Scheme was expected to be launched in January, but has been delayed. It is now expected to be launched “in the coming weeks”. We will then draft a response for submission...

Read more...



Eatwell Guide
 
We are continuing to engage with the Dairy APPG to determine how they wish to proceed whilst they complete their scientific review of the linear programming model that supported the Eatwell Guide...
 
Read more...



Nursery Milk

On 6th March, we met with representatives of the Department for Health’s Health Foods Scheme to discuss the problems with the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit...


  
School Food Standards
 
We re-contacted the Department for Education to discuss its intention to revise the School Food Standards, plans to develop a voluntary healthy rating scheme for primary schools and the Ofsted thematic review on nutrition...
 

February 2017
 

In January, a question session on school and Nursery Milk took place in the House of Lords. SNMA supporter Lord Lexden led the exchange, with other peers with an interest in school milk joining him in questioning the Government’s policies and future intentions.
 
Wider political developments were led by the Supreme Court ruling that MPs would have to vote in favour of triggering Article 50 before the Brexit process commenced. The Government subsequently tabled a short bill for this purpose. The move by the Government to pass a Brexit bill has had implications for the Labour Party. Following Jeremy Corbyn’s decisions to order Labour MPs to vote in favour of triggering Article 50, a number of shadow minsters resigned in order to be able to vote against it, including Shadow Defra Secretary Rachael Maskell.
 
Also this month, we have continued our efforts to push back on the cuts to the dairy allowance outlined in the revised Eatwell Guide through the tabling of parliamentary questions and communications with officials. Additionally, we have scheduled a meeting with Department of Health officials to discuss the ongoing problems with the new NMRU system.
Parliamentary activity
 
Meetings and engagements - One meeting took place in the House of Commons on 7th February: Mary Glindon MP, Shadow Farming Minister. During the meeting with Ms Glindon, we discussed the role school and nursery milk can play in supporting the health and development of children...
 
Read more...
 
 
Eatwell Guide
 
Following the December publication of the Public Health England report into the March 2016 revisions to the Eatwell Guide and a scientific paper outlining the linear programming model which supported it, we have continued to engage with the Dairy APPG to approach the Public Health Minister...
 
Read more...



European School Milk

The expected consultation on the new European School Milk Scheme was not published in January but is expected shortly. However, the changes from current arrangements are expected to be minimal...



Nursery Milk

We have set up a meeting on 6th March with representatives of the Department for Health’s Health Foods Scheme to discuss the with problems with the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit...


  
School Food Standards
 
We are currently engaging with the Department for Education on plans to revise the School Food Standards. Additionally, plans to develop a voluntary healthy rating scheme for primary schools and an Ofsted thematic review on nutrition are expected to move forward shortly...
 

January 2017
 

December’s political news was led by the Supreme Court’s hearings on the need for Parliament to vote on triggering Article 50 to start the UK’s departure from the EU, with a verdict due in early January. Whatever the outcome, political pressure to respect the result of the referendum means that MPs are likely to approve the measure.

Other significant political news included the resignation of Labour MP Jamie Reed as MP for Copeland, which will trigger a by-election in early 2017. Polling indicates a significant risk of Labour losing the seat to the Conservatives, despite it being almost unheard of for an opposition party to lose a seat to a governing party. The fallout from such a development could have major implications for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of Labour.

Also this month, after significant pressure from the SNMA, PHE published its report on the revisions to the Eatwell Guide. NICE published its recommendations on supporting oral health in the community, with changes from the original draft which reflected the concerns expressed to them by the SNMA over sugar intake. Additionally, we have arranged further meetings with senior MPs, and secured the tabling of eight parliamentary questions in the House of Commons.
Parliamentary activity
 
The House of Commons and House of Lords entered recess on 20th and 21st December, respectively. Both will return to business on 9th January. Meetings and engagements - We currently have two meetings arranged for 17th January with...
 
Read more...
 
 
Eatwell Guide
 
The PHE report into the March 2016 revisions to the Eatwell Guide has been published, along with a scientific paper outlining the linear programming model which supported it...
 
Read more...



European School Milk

We are expecting Defra to launch a consultation on the revised scheme this month, ahead of the programme’s implementation in July. Changes from current arrangements are expected to be minimal...



Nursery Milk

We followed up with Rick Llewellyn-Davies, the Healthy Foods programme lead at the DfE, on his previous offer of a meeting to discuss the recent issues with the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit.

  
School Food Standards
 
The Department for Education have informed us that they are currently preparing a submission to the Schools Minister on plans to revise the School Food Standards...
 

December 2016
 

The key political event in November was the Autumn Statement. As expected, the Statement contained no new funding for the DfE, DoH or Defra, although the existing funding allocated as part of last year’s Comprehensive Spending Review was protected. The Statement also outlined the projected impact of the Brexit vote on the UK’s finances – with borrowing now expected to be £122 billion higher over the next five years. The details – or lack thereof – of the plans for the UK’s departure from the EU also continued to set the tone across the political landscape.
 
In the school milk sector, the European Commission formally adopted the implementation and delegation regulations that will support the new EU School Milk Scheme from August 2017. Research indicated that children who drink low-fat milk are more likely to develop health problems than those who consumed full-fat; and new figures indicated that childhood obesity is continuing to rise.

Parliamentary activity
 
As noted in the previous update, the SNMA parliamentary drop-in took place on 2nd November. 13 MPs attended, including Shadow Defra Secretary Rachael Maskell and Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme
 
The European Commission adopted the implementing and delegated regulations that will support the new EU School Milk Scheme from August 2017: the SNMA submitted a response to the consultation on the delegated regulation...
 
 

Eatwell Guide
 
We sent a letter to the Chief Executive of PHE expressing our concern over the revisions to the Eatwell Guide, the current absence of scientific evidence supporting it and the lack of representation from the dairy industry during the consultation process...
 
Read more...



School Food Standards
 
We have been in contact with the DfE’s Healthy Pupil’s Unit to acquire further information on Ofsted’s plans for thematic review on obesity, healthy eating and physical activity in schools in 2017 and the planned new voluntary healthy rating scheme for primary schools...
 

November 2016
 

With parliamentary business returning to normal following the party conference season, the second half of October saw Brexit take centre stage again. The High Court ruling states that MPs must vote on triggering Article 50 before the UK’s exit from the EU can begin. The Government has opted to take the matter to the Supreme Court, where a hearing which begins in December will deliver a final verdict. Should the current ruling be upheld, the timeline of Theresa May’s pledge to trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017 could be affected.   
 
Meanwhile following his re-election as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn carried out a reshuffle of his shadow ministers. His appointments included a new shadow Farming Minister, Health Secretary and Schools Minister.
  
Parliamentary activity
 
Parliamentary drop-in event - October was dominated by preparations for the parliamentary drop-in session, which took place on 2nd November...
 
Read more...
 
 
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...
 
 

Nursery Milk

We have communicated our concerns over our members’ recent experiences with the new Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit to the relevant officials...
 
Read more...  


Eatwell Guide
 
With the return of parliament from recess, we are currently pressing forward with our efforts to engage with PHE on the Eatwell Guide...
 
Read more...



School Food Standards
 
The childhood obesity plan published in August proposed revisions to the School Food Standards based on the latest dietary advice on sugar and nutrition, and we are currently acquiring further details on these revisions and as well monitoring for a potential consultation...
 




October 2016
 

Parliament returned for two weeks in September before rising once again for the party conference season. Leadership elections were a central theme this year, with the Green Party, UKIP and Labour all holding contests.
 
The Labour ballot saw the expected victory of Jeremy Corbyn MP with an increased majority: he is now seeking to re-build his front-bench team following a wave of resignations in June, including the appointment of a new Shadow Farming Minister. The Lib Dem conference saw the party continue reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of last year’s general election, with a key theme being its intent to return the UK to the EU. The Conservative gathering found the party in a sure-footed mood, with Prime Minister Theresa May informing those attending of her intention to begin the process of leaving the EU by March 2017.
 
Additionally, 28th September saw World School Milk Day take place. An estimated 10,000 children across the UK took part, with parliamentarians also offering their support.
  
Parliamentary activity
 
Meetings and engagement - Two meetings took place on 7th September in the House of Commons...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme
 
We have been continuing to pursue a meeting with Defra to discuss both the post-July 2017 European School Milk Scheme and an eventual national UK replacement, and we are now close to finalising a date...
 
 

Eatwell Guide
 
We are currently in touch with Dairy UK, who provide the secretariat to the Dairy APPG, to confirm the new chair of the group, and will look to work with them on an approach to the Public Health Minister Nicola Blackwood...
 
Read more...



School Food Standards
 
The shift in the education policy priorities of the UK Government following Theresa May becoming prime minister, together with the recently launched education Green Paper consultation, means that the Education for All Bill is now unlikely to be launched until the spring of 2017...
 


Oral health
 
We met with dentist Dr Tony Kilcoyne on 15th September, to discuss the contribution school milk can make to healthy teeth and gums...



World School Milk Day took place on 28th September. To mark the day, we produced a league table ranking the 10 worst areas in England for childhood obesity and dental decay at age 5...


September 2016
 

  
After the political drama which followed from Brexit, the summer parliamentary recess meant that August was a little quieter. However there were still a number of policy announcements that will have a significant impact on the SNMA, including those linked to the government’s decision to replace EU CAP funding with national funding between the UK’s departure from the EU and 2020 and the publication of the childhood obesity strategy.
 
We have continued our preparation for the return of parliament in September by pursuing and securing MP meetings. Additionally, we have met with representatives of the Department for Education and the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT).
Parliamentary activity
 
Meetings and engagement - We have secured two meetings for 7th September once the House of Commons returns...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme
 
The Government's announced during August that funding for the Pillar 2 element of the CAP – which includes the European School Milk Scheme– will be protected between the point at which the UK departs the EU and 2020...
 
 

Eatwell Guide
 
We had planned to work with Dairy APPG Simon Hoare MP – to voice our concerns about the Eatwell Guide to new Public Health Minister Nicola Blackwood. However, he has been promoted to the role of Parliamentary Private Secretary to Farming Minister George Eustice, and so is stepping down as chair of the APPG...
 
Read more...



School Food Standards
 
The Government launched their long awaited plan to tackle childhood obesity this month, which includes a commitment to revise the School Food Standards to incorporate the latest advice on sugar and nutrition; a consultation on this is expected to be launched in the coming months...
 


Oral health
 
We are scheduled to meet with dentist Dr Tony Kilcoyne on 15th  September, to discuss the contribution school milk can make to healthy teeth and gums.



Ahead of World School Milk Day on 28th September, we have produced a league table highlighting the ten worst local authority areas for combined dental health problems and childhood obesity in 5 year olds.


August 2016
 

The biggest development during July was the ongoing fallout following last month’s vote to leave the European Union, the resignation of David Cameron as Prime Minister and his replacement by Theresa May.
 
May has overseen a number of key personnel changes. Perhaps most notably, Nicola Blackwood has been appointed as the new Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Innovation in the department of Health. She replaces Jane Ellison in the role. Ms Blackwood has been the MP for Oxford West and Abingdon since 2010. This is her first ministerial position.
 
At the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice has retained his position as Minister of State for Farming, a post he has held since 2013. Meanwhile, at the Department for Education, Nick Gibb has retained his position as Minister of State for Schools, a post he has held since 2014. Lord Nash remains Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools, a position he has held since 2013.
  
Parliamentary activity
 
Meetings and engagement - The Alliance met with five Parliamentarians during July...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme
 
Defra has previously told us that the UK will continue to participate in the existing EU school milk scheme, which will continue to run until 31 July 2017, but that it is too early to provide answers on the revised EU School Milk Scheme which is due to be implemented in September 2017...
 
 

Eatwell Guide
 
We have been continuing to challenge the recommendations made about milk and dairy in the revised Eatwell Guide. ....
 
Read more...



School Food Standards
 
A meeting took place on 1st August with the National Association of Head Teachers. This was a positive meeting, with NAHT supportive of the role of school milk, particularly in improving the nutrition of children in deprived areas...
 


Oral health
 
A meeting took place on 1st August with the National Association of Head Teachers. This was a positive meeting, with NAHT supportive of the role of school milk, particularly in improving the nutrition of children in deprived areas...
 
Read more...


June 2016
 

During May, the School and Nursery Milk Alliance has continued to secure meetings with Parliamentarians to build our supporter base and raise the profile of school milk in Parliament. As part of this, we are looking to secure opportunities to oral and written questions in both Houses of Parliament, including approaching peers ahead of an oral question on children’s dental health on 7th June. We are also continuing to engage with non-parliamentary stakeholders, including arranging a meeting with the Chair of the School Food Plan Alliance for 28th June.
  
Parliamentary activity
 
The Alliance has arranged a number of meetings over the next few months, with both Parliamentarians and wider stakeholders:...
 
Read more...
 
 
Update on the European School Milk Scheme
 
Last month we reported that the Council of Ministers has approved the proposal to merge the European School Milk Scheme with the European Fruit and Vegetables Scheme, with the UK pledging to continue to participate in the revised scheme...
 
 
 
Update on the School Food Standards
 
Last month we reported that the School Food Plan Alliance (SFPA) has been established following the expiration of the School Food Plan’s funding contract with the Department for Education. We have now organised a meeting with one of the Chairs of the Alliance, Linda Creegan of the Children’s Food Trust...
 

May 2016
 

Throughout April, the School and Nursery Milk Alliance has continued to raise its parliamentary profile through contributing to parliamentary debates and tabling written parliamentary questions. We have also continued to approach parliamentarians to grow our supporter base, whilst also engaging with organisations such as the School Food Plan Alliance and the National Association of Headteachers.
Parliamentary activity
 
Meetings and engagement - The Alliance has received positive responses from parliamentarians to its latest wave of engagement, with dates for new meetings to be scheduled with:...
 
Read more...
 
 
Activity in the health, education and environment sectors

Nursery World published an article assessing the changes to the Eatwell Guide, which included quotes from Dr Hilary Jones which “slammed the cut to milk and dairy intake and questioned the increased role of carbohydrates, in light of the obesity crisis”...
 
 
 
Update on the European School Milk Scheme
 
On 11th April, the European Council of Ministers approved the proposal to merge the European School Milk Scheme with the European Fruit and Vegetables Scheme...
 
 
 
Update on the School Food Standards
 
The School Food Plan Alliance (SFPA) has been established following the expiration of the School Food Plan’s funding contract with the Department for Education...
 

April 2016
 

Throughout March, the School and Nursery Milk Alliance has continued to raise its parliamentary profile through meeting with key parliamentarians and asking them to table parliamentary questions on school milk provision. The Alliance has also kept informed of policy developments such as the publication of the revised Eatwell Guide, the Dairy APPG report and changes to school governance arrangements.
 
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)...
 
Read more...
 
 
Activity in the health, education and environment sectors

Public Health England has published an updated version of the ‘Eatwell Plate’ – now renamed the ‘Eatwell Guide’ – outlining government recommendations on eating healthily and achieving a balanced diet...
 
 
 
Update on the European School Milk Scheme
 
On 8th March, the European Parliament voted in favour of a legislation provisionally agreed with the Council of Ministers to merge the European School Milk Scheme with the European Fruit and Vegetable Scheme...
 
 
 
Update on the School Food Standards
 
The Alliance has provisionally reached an agreement with the National Governors Association (NGA), the representative body for state-funded school governors, for them to host the Alliance briefing on compliance with the School Food Standards on its website and for this to be disseminated to school governors...
 

March 2016
 

Throughout February the School and Nursery Milk Alliance has continued to raise its parliamentary profile by setting up meetings with key parliamentarians and feeding into parliamentary debates. The Alliance is continuing to liaise with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to arrange a meeting to help shape the forthcoming national strategy for its implementation.

The Alliance is monitoring for key policy developments such as the childhood obesity strategy, and is engaging with health bodies to ensure that milk is part of the solution to the child dental health crisis.
 
Parliamentary activity
 
The Alliance has the following meetings scheduled with parliamentarians on 1st March: Labour MP Jenny Chapman (Shadow Childcare Minister), Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams (Secretary/Treasurer, Dairy APPG...
 
Read more...
 
 
Activity in the health, education and environment sectors

The Department of Health has announced that the Government’s childhood obesity strategy will now be published in summer 2016, having initially been planned for winter 2015...
 
 
 
Update on the European School Milk Scheme
 
On 8th March, the European Parliament will vote on the proposal that it agreed with the Council of Ministers to merge the European School Milk Scheme with the European Fruit and Vegetable Scheme, with a debate on the proposal to take place a day prior...
 
 
 
Update on the School Food Standards
 
The Alliance has continued to engage with local governor associations to ensure that its briefing on compliance with the School Food Standards is utilised by school governors across England...
 

February 2016
 

Throughout January, the School and Nursery Milk Alliance has worked to raise its parliamentary profile by setting up meetings with key parliamentarians across the health, education and dairy sectors. The Alliance is also in the process of setting up a meeting with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to ensure that we can help shape the forthcoming national strategy for its implementation.

The Alliance is monitoring for key policy developments such as the childhood obesity strategy, and is actively engaging with campaigners with similar objectives, particularly in the dental sector.

The Alliance held its first meeting of the year on 14 January 2016 at the Farmers Club in London.

Dr Hilary Jones was introduced as our new spokesperson. Dr Hilary will be the public face of the Alliance attending meetings with Parliamentarians and other influential groups.

The Alliance is now fully funded by its supplier members who together supply over 1.5 million children every school day with milk. It also has 10,000 other consumer members – mainly schools, nurseries and child minders.

The meeting was provided with updates on the EU School Milk Scheme and the School Food Plan and details of the Alliances’ potential engagement.

Summaries (and links) of these are provided in the notes below.
 
Parliamentary activity
 
The first few weeks of January saw Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reshuffle his Shadow Cabinet, with the most relevant change being Jenny Chapman replacing Pat Glass as Shadow Childcare Minister...
 
Read more...
 
 
Activity in the health sector

The Government’s childhood obesity strategy is due to be published “soon”, according to a response to a parliamentary question by Liberal Democrat Peer Baroness Suttie...
 
 
 
Update on the European School Milk Scheme
 
The European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee has voted in favour of a proposal provisionally agreed by the European Parliament and the European Council of Ministers to merge the European School Milk Scheme with the European Fruit and Vegetables Scheme...
 
 
 
Update on the School Food Plan
 
The School Food Plan has launched an interactive update on the progress of measures to improve the quality of school food and drink in England, focusing on the School Food Standards, the uptake of free school meals, cooking in the curriculum and other topics...
 
 
 
Health Select Committee inquiry on the Impact of the Spending Review
 
See the Alliance's response to the Spending Review...
 

January 2016
 

Towards the end of 2015, the School and Nursery Milk Alliance continued to monitor the European School Milk Scheme, and has actively engaged with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to ensure that industry and interest groups can help shape the forthcoming national strategy for its implementation. The Alliance has also produced a briefing for school governors on complying with the School Food Standards, and distributed this to regional governor associations across the country.
 
The Alliance’s parliamentary engagement has focused on meetings with Farming Minister Nick Smith, as well as Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Baroness Walmsley and Environment Spokesperson Baroness Parminter. The Alliance has also engaged with Crossbench peer Lord Trees on the European School Milk Scheme, and has submitted written evidence to a Health Select Committee inquiry into public health.
 
The Alliance has also re-launched its website, including useful information on milk produced by its member organisations, as well as monitoring for political developments – most notably the impact of the Spending Review.
European School Milk Scheme
 
The European Parliament and Council of Ministers have provisionally reached an agreement on the proposal to merge the European School Milk Scheme with the European Fruit and Vegetables Scheme...
 
Read more...
 
 
Engagement with school governors

The Alliance finalised its briefing for school governors on complying with the requirements in the School Food Standards to provide milk throughout the school day...
 
 
 
Parliamentary engagement
 
The Alliance met with Farming Minister Nick Smith, as well as Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Baroness Walmsley and Environment Spokesperson Baroness Parminter...
 
 
 
Other developments
 
The Government outlined the details of the Spending Review towards the end of November. This noted that the Department of Health’s non-NHS budget has been cut by 25%, including continued savings in public health...