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Return to free school milk to be considered by government

Discussions in the House of Lords highlighted the widespread desire to help struggling dairy farmers and improve children’s health


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The Government has said it will consider reintroducing free school milk in a bid to improve children’s health and provide a boost to struggling dairy producers.

 

During a debate in the House of Lords on February 11, peers discussed how children often arrived at school without a nutritious breakfast.

 

Conservative peer Lord Lexden pointed to a ’widespread desire’ to help struggling dairy producers and highlighted the ’nutritional benefits’ of milk.

 

"In view of the widespread desire to help our milk producers and of the nutritional benefits, has the time come to consider reintroducing compulsory milk in our schools, which helped to make so many of us healthy?" he said.

 

Responding to the question, education minister Lord Nash claimed he would take the suggestion back for consideration.

 

"My noble friend reminds me that I must have drunk at least three or four pints of milk a day in those days," he added.

 

Free school milk was famously abolished in 1971 during Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as education secretary amid a series of government cuts.

 

During the debate, Lord Nash said: "It is deeply concerning many children seem to come to school not having eaten properly, which cannot help their concentration in school.

 

"We have funded a Magic Breakfast programme which has resulted in nearly 200 new schools in disadvantaged areas offering breakfast clubs."

 

The UK milk industry continues to feel the effects of a continued downturn across global dairy markets.


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