Back in the 70's it was 'Margaret Thatcher the Milk Snatcher' when she removed free school milk from older primary school children. Now her Tory Party colleagues running Lancashire County Council have followed in her footsteps and axed milk for the under 7s'.
The School and Nursery Milk Alliance have stepped into the debate and backed my campaign opposing the cuts to school milk.
"Lancashire is one of the few remaining authorities still offering school milk - free for under fives and those on free dinners- but it is not a legal requirement. Parents of five to seven year olds currently pay £6 a term to help cover the cost.Lancashire's Tories are letting Lancashire's children down. Milk is an important nutritional part of a child's diet. The SNMA state in their letter that "The health benefits of milk are well recognised, contributing to teeth and bone health and contributing to the fight against obesity, particularly child obesity". Quite frankly its a disgrace that the government cuts are being directed at 5 to 7 year old's and it flies in the face of every promise David Cameron and George Osborne have made about not cutting the deficit off the backs of the poor.
Government changes to school funding mean schools now have to source their own supplies and claim back subsidies. For some, the paperwork is a step too far. They say they don’t have the resources to deal with the administration and have told parents there won’t be any more milk.
One disappointed mum said: “I understand that the government has made significant council budget reductions but I find it disgusting that children are suffering. Some poor children will have no breakfast and depend upon that milk.”. "
The SNMA in their supporting letter express concern about Government changes to school funding that have contributed to LCC's decision.
However in a Parliamentary answer the Government minister tried to blame it on the EU;
Graham Jones (Hyndburn, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Education; (1) how much funding for milk in schools in Lancashire (a) his Department and its predecessor and (b) Lancashire county council provided in each of the last five years;
(2) how much funding for milk in schools in Lancashire (a) his Department and (b) Lancashire county council plans to provide in 2013-14. Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 26 March 2013, c1105W)
David Heath (Minister) (Somerton and Frome, Liberal Democrat)
In respect of the EU School Milk Scheme and the National Top-Up for English primary schools it is not possible to provide reliable data at the level of individual counties. It is for Lancashire county council to provide if possible any details of the claims and payments they may have received or made.
It is not possible to say how much funding may be provided as the level of funding under these schemes is driven by consumption at participating schools.