48. Mr. Shin well
asked the President of the Board of Education how many children attending State-aided schools are receiving a milk ration; and how many receive other meals?
On 1st October, 1936, the number of full-time pupils in State-aided schools in England and Wales who were receiving milk at school was 2,670,570, of whom 372,174 were receiving it free of charge. The number of children in public elementary schools in England and Wales who received free ordinary meals during November, 1936, was 88,761. In addition, about 32,000 children in public elementary schools are paying for meals at school canteens or feeding centres. No figures are available as to the number of children receiving ordinary meals in schools other than public elementary schools.
§ Mr. Sandys
Can the right hon. Gentleman say when he will be able to announce the extension of the scheme as foreshadowed by the Minister of Health a little while ago?
§ 49. Mr. Shinwell
asked the President of the Board of Education what is the estimated cost of supplying all children attending State-aided schools with one meal per day other than milk?
If free dinners were provided on 200 school days for all the 5,750,000 full-time pupils under 18 years of age attending State-aided schools in England and Wales, the cost, assuming a gross cost of 5d. per meal, including food and overhead charges, would be about £24,000,000 per annum. If the provision were extended to days, including Saturdays and Sundays, when the schools do not meet, the cost would be about £43,700,000 per annum. These figures make no allowance for the cost of additional premises, the amount of which I am unable to forecast, but which would no doubt be considerable.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Why does the right hon. Gentleman estimate the gross cost to be 5d., when the local authorities provide free meals at a cost of 3d?
My experience is that in nearly all the school canteens of which I have any knowledge the gross cost is about 5d.
§ Mr. Johnston
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that in Bradford, where the largest number of children are supplied by any local authority with a hot meal, the cost works out at 3d?
I must repeat what I have said. I recently sent out a questionnaire in regard to the provision of meals in school canteens, and as a result I find that 5d. is the normal price.
§ 50. Mr. Shinwell
asked the President of the Board of Education what is the estimated cost of supplying all children attending State-aided schools with one pint of milk per day?
There are about 5,750,000 full-time pupils under 18 years of age attending State-aided schools in England and Wales. To supply this number with a pint of milk daily for 200 school days about 144,000,000 gallons of milk would be required. If the provision were extended to days when the schools do not meet, about 262,000,000 gallons would be required. I am not in a position to give an estimate of the cost to public funds which would be involved if this quantity of milk were supplied free, as the price per gallon could only be determined after negotiations with the milk industry. If, however, the cost is assumed to be is. 4¼d. per gallon, as at present, the total cost to public funds may be estimated at about £10,000,000 per annum for 200 school days, or about £18,000,000 per annum if the provision were extended to days when the schools do not meet.
§ Mr. T. Williams
Does the right hon. Gentleman consider that the price presently charged under the existing milk scheme could not be materially reduced if all children were receiving milk?
Perhaps the hon. Member will read my answer, and he will see that is why I guarded myself as to cost. I only gave a calculation based on the existing price.
§ Mr. Williams
Why does the right hon. Gentleman base his estimate on the highest figures? Will he look into the matter further and make a calculation based upon every child receiving one pint of milk, instead of some receiving one-third of a pint? Would not the cost be reduced if all were receiving one pint?
It is impossible to make any calculation, because I do not know to what arrangements we should be able to come with the Milk Board.
§ Mr. H. G. Williams
Can the right hon. Gentleman say how much extra would be involved in this universal pauperisation if we were to provide every member with a copy of the "Daily Herald"?
51. Major Herbert
asked the President of the Board of Education what per centage of children in the rural and in the urban districts, respectively, of the county of Monmouth are receiving milk under the milk-in-schools scheme?
On 1st October, 1936, the percentages of children on the registers of public elementary schools in the rural and the urban districts of the administrative county of Monmouth for purposes of elementary education who were receiving milk under the Milk-in-Schools Scheme were 26 and 36 respectively. In addition, 9 per cent, of the children in the rural districts and 3 per cent, of the children in the urban districts were receiving milk (mainly preparations of dried milk) outside the scheme.
52. Major Herbert
asked the President of the Board of Education what provision is being made in the rural and in the urban areas, respectively, of the country of' Monmouth for school canteens?
I understand that no provision is made in the area of the Monmouthshire local education authority for school canteens where children may obtain meals on payment as distinct from feeding centres for the provision of free meals.
Will the right hon. Gentleman by some method encourage or urge local authorities to institute school canteens in their areas, especially in the rural areas where children have to come great distances?
Last year, in a circular, I drew the attention of local authorities to the desirability of providing school canteens at schools where children come from a distance. In considering plans for new senior schools I always take this point into consideration.
53. Major Herbert
asked the President of the Board of Education what is the income scale for purposes of free meals and/or milk in schools in Monmouth shire; and how this compares with the scales adopted by other authorities?
The income scale adopted by the Monmouthshire local education authority for the purpose of free meals and/or milk is an allowance of 10s. for each parent and 5s. for each child up to a maximum of £1. Where the family income does not exceed the figures obtained on this basis meals or milk are given free. No deduction is made for rent before calculating the income, and the scale is considerably less liberal than those normally adopted by other authorities. As stated in the reply which I gave on 19th January to the hon. Member for Western Stirling and Clackmannan (Mr. Johnston), I understand that the authority are considering the question of introducing a more generous income scale.