Supporters updates

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.

Parliamentary activity
  
  
9th January: Scott Mann MP (Conservative, Chair of the Dairy APPG). This was a positive meeting in which we introduced the Alliance, the range of organisations it represents, and the campaigns it is running...

 
 
European School Milk Scheme

We have briefed Welsh Assembly Members who are engaged in the Health, Social Care and Sport, the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs, and the Children...



Nursery Milk and the School Food Standards
   
We have submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on its obesity strategy, highlighting the important contribution school and nursery milk makes...

Read more...


Eatwell Guide
  
We have arranged a meeting with Professor Ian Givens, a nutritional specialist from the University of Reading, to discuss the potential of working...





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
  
We currently have one meeting planned for January: Scott Mann MP (Conservative, Chair of the Dairy APPG)...

 
 
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. The letter invites...



Nursery Milk and the 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. The department has...

Read more...


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





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...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

We have received a response from Defra Minister George Eustice, to the SNMA’s open letter asking about a replacement for the EU school milk scheme...



Nursery Milk and the School Food Standards
   
Dr Hilary held a meeting with Jackie O’Neil and Cat Byrne, Healthy Pupils Unit, at the Department for Education, as well as officials working on free school meals and early years...
  

Read more...


Eatwell Guide
  
We are drafting a letter to approach a nutritionist to discuss working together to highlight the health effects of milk, in a healthy diet.




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
     
One parliamentary meeting took place in October: 24th October: Emma Hardy MP (Labour, Hull West and Hessel, member of the...

  
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

We have written to Michael Gove to ask for an update to his position on school milk subsidies after Brexit, and have chased his office on it. They have informed us that...



Nursery Milk and the School Food Standards
   
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...
  

Read more...


Eatwell Guide
  
Scott Mann, the MP for North Cornwall, was informally appointed at the chair of the Dairy APPG at its Annual General Meeting...





October 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 currently have one meeting in the diary for October: 25th October, Emma Harding, Labour, member of the Education Select Committee...
  
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

  
The EU School Milk Scheme was our theme for World School Milk Day on 27th September. We commissioned polling from ComRes...



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.
  

Read more...


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...






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...

Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

The new European School Milk Scheme – part of the wider EU School Fruit, Vegetables and Milk Scheme – came into force on 1st August. The Alliance is continuing to develop...



Nursery Milk
  
Department for Health nursery milk lead Becky Farren has responded to our letter asking for statistics on Nursery Milk Scheme uptake levels, stating that she will to investigate the possibility of providing these...

Read more...


Eatwell Guide
  
We are continuing to engage 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 meeting with the Department for Education to discuss progress on the School Food Standards for England review...



World School Milk Day 2017

The SNMA will be engaged in a variety of activity to support World School Milk Day on 27th September. This will include supporting member schools to host their local MP to celebrate WSMD; a survey to gauge public attitudes to school milk; and an open letter to Defra highlighting the need for a post-Brexit school milk scheme. We will also be seeking opportunities for SNMA spokesperson Dr Hilary Jones to highlight the importance of school and nursery milk in the media.
  


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 hope’s 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 engagements: We met the following MPs in July; Peter Dowd – Labour MP for Bootle and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury (5th July)...

Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

Following an extensive set of consultations, the new European School Milk Scheme came into force in 1st August. We are now building on our earlier efforts to secure a post-Brexit subsidy programme...



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...

Read more...


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. Education Select Committee member Ian Mearns has offered to write to the Public Health Minister raising our concerns...



School Food Standards
 
Both our conversations with the Department for Education and recent answers to PQs have shown that limited progress has been made on the revisions to the School Food Standards for England and the Healthy Rating Scheme for primary schools...



World School Milk Day 2017

  
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 highlighting the need for a post-Brexit school milk scheme. As was the case last year, we are planning to provide engagement toolkits to SNMA member schools to allow them to invite their MPs to celebrate WSMD with them.


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.
  

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.

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 - A General Election was called on 18th April, in the middle of Easter recess. This meant that MP meetings need to be re-arranged – we currently have the following post-election meetings either arranged or agreed to in principal: Peter Dowd, Labour MP for Bootle (28th June); Ian Mearns, Labour MP and member of the Education Select Committee (TBC); Neil Parish, Conservative MP and chair of the Defra Committee (TBC)...
 
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. We have written to Defra to ask them to either communicate the likely changes to schools immediately to ensure that they have the time to implement them ahead of September, or to postpone the implementation of the changes...



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 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. We have written again to push for a solution to these issues...



Eatwell Guide

We have completed research into the nutrition guides of other countries, which highlighted that the Eatwell Guide recommends a lower level of dairy consumption than average. Following the election, we will be contacting the Public Health Minister to discuss our concerns over the guide.


School Food Standards
 
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 - This month, we met with: Lucy Powell MP, former Shadow Education Secretary (7th March), Lord Storey, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson (21st March) and 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...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk Scheme

The consultation on post-August 2017 revised European School Milk Scheme has not yet been published. We will keep in contact with Defra on their planned timetable and draft a response for submission once it has been published.


Nursery Milk
  
On 6th March, we met with representatives of the Department of Health 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 would not require input from stakeholders until it had been further developed...

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 - This month, we met with: Mary Glindon MP, Shadow Farming Minister (7th February) and Irena Hulova, Senior Parliamentary Assistant to Graham Allen MP (27th February). We currently have meeting arranged with: Lucy Powell MP, Former Shadow Defra Secretary (7th March), Lord Storey, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson (21st March) and Marie Eagle MP, Former Shadow Defra Secretary (28th March)...
 
Read more...
 
 
European School Milk
 
The consultation on the revised European School Milk Scheme is now expected to be launched “in the coming weeks”. We have submitted evidence to a brief inquiry into Brexit and agriculture being conducted by the House of Lords EU, Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, which highlighted the importance of school and nursery milk provisions to the agricultural sector...



Eatwell Guide

We are engaging with the Dairy APPG to determine how they wish to proceed on the Eatwell Guide.


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 their 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. The former two projects do not yet need stakeholder input. We are pursuing the Ofsted lead for an update on the thematic review...

  


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 on 7th February: Mary Glindon MP, Shadow Farming Minister. We currently have one meeting arranged for 27th February: Maria Eagle MP, Former Shadow Defra Secretary...
 
Read more...
 
 
Eatwell Guide
 
Following the December publication of the PHE report into the revisions to the Eatwell Guide, we have continued to engage with the Dairy APPG to approach the Public Health Minister. However, we are looking how we can analyse the science behind the guide before making an approach.



European School Milk

The expected consultation on the new European School Milk Scheme was not published in January but is expected shortly. We have drafted an overview of how the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could be involved in a post-Brexit school milk subsidy scheme.


Nursery Milk
  
We have set up a meeting on 6th March with representatives of the Department of Health’s Healthy Foods Scheme to discuss the problems with the Nursery Milk Reimbursement Unit. Additionally, the Department for Health have supplied us with statistics on the UK’s Nursery Milk Scheme: both the scheme’s cost and consumption levels have been on a broadly upward trend.
  

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


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
 
Meetings and engagements - We currently have meetings arranged with: Mary Glindon MP, Shadow Farming Minister (17th January)
Lucy Powell MP, former Shadow Education Secretary (17th January)...  
 
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...

Read more...


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...
 
Read more...


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
 
Parliamentary drop-in event - The SNMA parliamentary drop-in took place on 2nd November, with 13 MPs attending, 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...
 
Read more...



Eatwell Guide
 
We sent a letter to the Chief Executive of PHE expressing our concern over the revisions to the Eatwell Guide. Additionally, we wrote to the Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies requesting a meeting to discuss our concerns...
 
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; and the planned new voluntary healthy rating scheme for primary schools...
 
Read more...

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 - Our focus during October was the preparations for the parliamentary drop-in session on 2nd November. 13 MPs attended in total...
 
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...
 
Read more...



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...




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
 
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...
 
Read more...



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 means that the Education for All Bill is now unlikely to be launched until the spring of 2017...
 
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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..
 
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World School Milk Day

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...

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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
 
Parliament was in recess during August. We have secured two meetings for 7th September once the House of Commons returns...
 
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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...
 
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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....
 
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School Food Standards
 
The Government launched their long awaited plan to tackle childhood obesity this month, which include 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...
 
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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...
 
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Plans for World School Milk Day

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...

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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
 
The Alliance met with five Parliamentarians during July:...
 
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European School Milk Scheme
 
Now that some time has passed since the outcome of the EU referendum, we are in the process of setting up a meeting with Defra to find out more about their plans for the future of the European School Milk Scheme...
 
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Eatwell Guide
 
We met with Heather Wheeler and Simon Hoare MP of the Dairy APPG – they were very supportive of our concerns and we agreed to work together on an approach to the new Public Health Minister, Nicola Blackwood....
 
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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...
 
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Oral health 
  
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) held a consultation on a Quality Standards on oral health promotion in the community, which highlighted the need to reduce tooth decay and extraction amongst children as a key measure of the quality standard’s success...
 
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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
 
In May, the Alliance set dates for meetings with five parliamentarians or their researchers...
 
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Update on the School Food Standards
 
Following the launch of the School Food Plan Alliance, we have now organised a meeting with one of the Chairs of the Alliance, Linda Creegan of the Children’s Food Trust...
 
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Other health and education engagement
  
We have secured a meeting on 28th June with Dr Tony Kilcoyne, a dentist who has campaigned extensively on children’s dental health, to explore how we can work together...
 
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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
 
The Alliance agreed meetings with a further three parliamentarians in April 2016...
 
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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...
 
 
 
Activities around the health, education and environment sectors
 
Nursery World published an article assessing the changes to the Eatwell Guide, including 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 School Food Standards
 
The School Food Plan Alliance was formed following the expiration of the School Food Plan’s funding contract with the Department for Education...
 
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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
 
The Alliance met with five parliamentarians throughout March 2016...
 
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Update on the European School Milk Scheme
 
On 8th March, the European Parliament voted in favour of legislation provisionally agreed with the Council of Ministers to merge the European School Milk Scheme with the European Fruit and Vegetable Scheme...
 
 
 
Activities around the health, education and environment sectors
 
Public Health England has published an updated version of the ‘Eatwell Guide’, which recommends that dairy products should make up 8% of an individual’s daily food intake – down from the 15% recommended in 2014...
 


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...
 
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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 meetings with three parliamentarians scheduled for 1st March 2016...
 
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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...
 
 
 
Activities around the health, education and environment sectors
 
The Alliance has submitted a response to a topic engagement exercise by the National Institute for health and Care Excellence on guidance for oral health care in the community, suggesting that local authorities and dentists encourage milk consumption to improve oral health and reduce incidences of dental caries...
 


Update on the School Food Standards
 
A further eight local school governor associations have informed the Alliance that they have taken forward supportive activity to ensure that school governors utilise the Alliance’s briefing on the School Food Standards...
 
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February 2016
 

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’ political engagement.
 
Summaries (and links) of these are provided in the notes below.
Parliamentary activity
 
The Alliance has meetings with three parliamentarians scheduled for 1st March 2016...
 
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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...
 
 
 
Activities around the sector
 
The Alliance has sent a meeting request to Dr Tony Kilcoyne, who organised an open letter to the Telegraph newspaper, signed by 400 dentists, criticising the state of children’s oral health in England...