HC Deb 10 February 1938 vol 331 cc1257-60
69. Mr. Sexton

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education how many schools in the county of Durham are not taking milk under the milk-in-schools scheme; and how many of such schools are situate in Teesdale and Weardale, respectively?

Mr. Lindsay

On 31st October, 1937, the number of departments of public elementary schools in the administrative county of Durham which were not operating the milk-in-schools scheme was 37. Of these, eight were in Teesdale (that is the urban and rural districts of Barnard Castle) and five in Weardale.

73. Mr. De la Bère

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he will immediately consult with the Milk Marketing Board with a view to securing that producer-retailers supplying milk to children attending schools in rural areas should have an additional price allowed them for the milk supplied, seeing that at the present time producer-retailers are unwilling to supply milk under this scheme owing to the high cost of transport and distribution, and that the margin of profit so obtained is insufficient?

70. Sir Percy Hurd

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education what further measures are proposed for the supply of milk for children attending smaller schools in the rural areas?

Mr. Lindsay

The matter to which my hon. Friends refer has for some time past been the subject of consultation between the Board of Education, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Milk Marketing Board and was discussed on 21st January at a conference of bodies interested in the milk-in-schools scheme. My Noble Friend hopes that it may be possible to arrange for an increased distribution allowance in the case of small and remote rural schools where the existing allowance can be shown to be insufficient, but I am not at present in a position to make any announcement on the matter.

Mr. Alexander

If that be the case, is that increased allowance to include the cost of pasteurisation, because if the milk is not to be pasteurised no increased allowance is necessary?

Sir Arnold Wilson

Has the hon. Gentleman had any indication that children in rural areas have not done better with raw milk than with pasteurised milk?

Mr. Lindsay

I would rather not go into the question raised by the right hon. Gentleman. It may be possible to allow for an increase in the distribution allowance, but I am not at present in a position to make any announcement. The situation has to be considered in connection with the long-term policy of the Government in collaboration with the Minister of Agriculture, and until that is done I would rather not say anything.

Mr. Alexander

Is the hon. Member not aware that in the case of pasteurised and bottled milk the allowance at present made is ample to secure a proper service to schools?

Mr. Henderson Stewart

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in some parts of the country at least the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman is not borne out by the facts? In some parts the increased cost of distribution is in fact stopping the supply of milk.

Mr. Lindsay

Apparently there is a difference of opinion.

Mr Macquisten

Why should children have this half-boiled milk shoved down them?

75. Mr. Lipson

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he is now in a position to say whether local education committees, who desire to do so, are empowered to arrange for free milk to be given to necessitous school children, who are entitled to it, at their homes on days when they are absent from school because of illness?

Mr. Lindsay

As stated in my reply to my hon. Friend's question of 3rd February, the milk-in-schools scheme at present applies only to milk actually consumed in schools or other approved centres, so that milk bought at the reduced price under the scheme cannot be supplied to the homes of children absent through illness. This difficulty would not arise if the milk were purchased by the local education authority outside the scheme, and if in such a case the authority were satisfied that it would be consumed by the children for whom it was intended, the expenditure so incurred would rank for the Board's grant.

Mr. Lipson

Why is it not possible for the milk to be given to the children who are absent from school through sickness?

Mr. Lindsay

The reason is that Clause 2 of the scheme distinctly prevents it. I would like to tell hon. Gentlemen who have asked this question that I am trying to find a way round, and to see whether it can be done administratively, but until the long-term scheme is in force, I do not think it can be done. The interests of dairymen and others are involved.

Mr. T. Williams

In such cases of illness could not the milk be collected at the school by the parent and taken home to the child?

Mr. Lindsay

As I say, that is distinctly disallowed under the scheme. The milk is to be drunk at school, but I am trying to find a way out administratively of getting the milk to school children in their homes.

Mr. McEntee

Can it not be done as a matter of interpretation?

Mr. Lindsay

If there is a way out I will certainly try to find it.

Mr. Tomlinson

If the education authority were to provide the milk out of its own resources, could it not be done if the authority had the assurance of the parent that the milk was being drunk by the child; and do I understand that the local authority would be allowed to participate in two schemes, one to provide for sick children and one for the children at school?

Mr. Lindsay

They can provide milk both inside and outside the scheme.