School Milk Scheme funded until 2022

Fiona Simpson
Monday, February 22, 2021

The School Milk Scheme will be funded until at least 2022 despite the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed.

Children will continue to recieve free milk. Picture: Adobe Stock
Children will continue to recieve free milk. Picture: Adobe Stock

The decision comes following a campaign by The School and Nursery Milk Alliance (SNMA), amid fears the scheme could be cut or scrapped due to Brexit.

Prior to the UK’s departure from the EU, all children aged five to 11 in UK schools were eligible to receive subsidised milk through the European School Milk Scheme. 

The EU provided a subsidy of 2.4p per 1/3 pint, with an additional 1p top-up by Defra. 

The government has now agreed to cover the EU’s subsidy up until the academic year 2021/22, until a new system has been devised.

In a letter to Dr Hilary Jones, TV personality and spokesman for the School & Nursery Milk Alliance, MP Victoria Prentis, under-secretary of state for farming, said: “We have retained the former EU powers for the School Milk Scheme within domestic legislation. 

“I am also pleased to confirm that the Scheme will continue to operate in England for the coming 2021-2022 school year with a seamless transition in the summer. The Department of Health and Social Care also has no plans to make changes to its much larger free Nursery Milk Scheme.”

She added that the future scheme may be examined as part of the second phase of Henry Dimbleby’s National Food Strategy which is set to be published in the spring.

Dr Jones said: “Milk is a healthy and delicious drink for growing children, and has been shown to help address issues such as child dental decay and obesity. It is great news that school pupils across England will continue to enjoy milk and its nutritional benefits as they learn to eat healthily and look after themselves.”

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