Swinney avoids 'milk snatcher' moniker, but will Boris?

The Scottish government says it will subsidise milk in schools after the UK's removal from EU scheme due to Brexit
16th November 2020, 2:38pm

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Swinney avoids 'milk snatcher' moniker, but will Boris?

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/swinney-avoids-milk-snatcher-moniker-will-boris
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Margaret Thatcher's decision in 1971, when she was education secretary, to stop the provision of milk for junior school pupils caused her to be forever haunted by the playground taunt "Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher".

Today the Scottish government made it clear that it planned to avoid a similar fate by confirming that it will make up the shortfall left by Britain's removal from the EU school milk scheme, caused by Brexit.


Background: Scottish government to fund free meals over holidays

Related: Johnson U-turns on free school meals

News: New holiday hunger super-kitchen wants to serve schools

'Milk snatcher': School milk row troubled Thatcher for decades after


As of last month, according to the Scottish government, the European Council closed the EU school milk scheme to the UK, thereby putting a stop to the £4 million-plus that British schools received annually to help provide children with subsidised milk in school.

Subsidised milk in schools

In Scotland the funding gap amounted to £722,000 this school year, with around two-thirds of councils benefiting from the scheme - a gap the Scottish government has now said it will plug, should the UK government refuse to.

Deputy first minister and education secretary John Swinney said: "Offering milk in schools provides an excellent source of nutrients for young people and helps to set up healthy eating habits.

"The withdrawal of the EU scheme threatens the ability of local authorities to provide subsidised milk in schools, running the risk that children and young people will miss out. It is another example of the detrimental financial impact of leaving the EU.

"We will continue to press the UK government to make up the shortfall, but parents and local authorities can be assured we will not allow the school milk scheme to be lost."

Amy Woodhouse, head of policy, projects and participation at charity Children in Scotland, said: "We are delighted that the Scottish government will provide financial support to continue the provision of subsidised milk in schools. Children in Scotland recognises that the health consequences for children and young people of food poverty and poor diet are considerable. In such a difficult year, when many families are facing enormous financial pressures, this small but important step, alongside recent free school meal announcements, will help to protect children's health and wellbeing during a time of increased vulnerability.''

The Rural Payments Agency will continue to administer the scheme for Scottish local authorities under the new funding arrangements.

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