Parliamentary activity
Meetings and engagements 
 
This month, we met with:

  • Lucy Powell MP, former Shadow Education Secretary (7th March)
  • Lord Storey, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson (21st March)
  • Maria Eagle MP, former Shadow Defra Secretary (28th March)

The House of Commons is currently in recces and the House of Lords is about to enter recess. We will use this period to arrange new meetings for the summer parliamentary term, with Labour MP Diana Johnson having already agreed to meet at a date TBC.



Westminister Hall debate

A debate on children's health and access to milk in educational settings was held in Westminster Hall on 28th March. The debate was secured and led by Shadow Farming Minister Mary Glindon: the SNMA met with her in January and provided briefing material for her prior to the debate taking place. Ms Glindon’s opening statement – in addition to thanking the SNMA for their assistance:

  • Relayed concerns over the School Food Standards not being applicable to schools that opened between September 2010 and 2014

  • Enquired after additional details on plans for a post-Brexit school milk scheme

  • Asked if the Government would consider granting free school milk to all children in reception class

  • Questioned the logic behind the Eatwell Guide’s reduction on the dairy allowance

  • Asked if school milk would have a place in the Childhood Obesity Plan

The Government response was given by Children’s Minister Edward Timpson. His response included:

  • ​An assertion that the Government wishes to support milk consumption amongst children in education settings given its health benefits

  • A confirmation that efforts would continue to encourage schools not obliged to follow the School Food Standards to follow them voluntarily, and that this issue would be kept under review

  • A statement that the revisions to the School Food Standards would take into account the need to encourage healthy eating behaviour in children as they grow up, including the consumption of milk

  • A firm indication that the Government would support a post-Brexit national school milk scheme

  • A willingness to consider making Nursery Milk open to all children in reception year

  • A clarification that the changes to the Eatwell Guide were “absolutely not” intended to discourage children from drinking milk

  • A hint that some of the proceeds to be raised by the soft drinks levy could be used to promote the consumption of school milk

The debate received coverage on the Politic Home and Politics Scrapbook websites, as well as in The Chronicle, Ms Glindon’s local newspaper.



House of Commons and House of Lords written questions

Four new written questions were answered.

  • Labour MP Lucy Powell asked what assessment the Department of Health has made of the role of school and nursery milk in the Childhood Obesity Plan; and of the role of school and nursery milk in supporting the health of children in deprived communities. Public Health Minister Nicola Blackwood outlined current milk provisions and added that the Government will publish example menus for early year’s settings in England which will help settings to meet dietary recommendations, including the consumption of milk and dairy products.

  • Labour MP Graham Allen asked Defra (a) how many and (b) what proportion of children aged over five in (i) the Nottingham North constituency, (ii) Nottingham city and (iii) the East Midlands received milk through the European School Milk Scheme in the last year for which figures are available. Farming Minister George Eustice responded that the information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

  • Mr Allen also asked the Department of Health how many and what proportion of children aged under five in (i) the Nottingham North constituency, (ii) Nottingham city and (iii) the East Midlands received milk through the Nursery Milk Scheme in the last year for which figures are available. Nicola Blackwood responded that the requested information was not held centrally.


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