HC Deb 16 November 1939 vol 353 cc817-9
41. Mr. Messer

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education the difference in the amount of milk distributed to children under the school-distribution scheme as compared to the amount distributed before the war in any given month?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (Mr. Kenneth Lindsay)

The amount of milk supplied to schools in England and Wales under the Milk in Schools Scheme was approximately 2,500,000 gallons in October, 1938, and 1,500,000 in October, 1939.

Mr. John Morgan

Is any pressure being brought upon the Minister from any quarter to abandon this cheap milk scheme?

Mr. Lindsay

There is no pressure from any quarter to abandon the milk schemes at all, and considering that the whole of the schools in the evacuation areas are closed, and that many schools in neutral areas were closed during September and October, a 60 per cent. consumption is, I consider, a very remarkable total. I propose to refer to the subject later in the Debate.

Mr. T. Williams

Has any effort been made to reorganise milk schemes in reception areas?

Mr. Lindsay

I will refer to that also in the Debate.

Miss Wilkinson

Does the Minister realise that a reduction of 40 per cent. does mean a reduction of efficiency?

Mr. Lindsay

I am not in the least complacent, but I will explain the position later.

42. Mr. Messer

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education what steps are being taken to ensure that the children who were receiving milk at school before the war are now receiving it whether evacuated or not?

Mr. Lindsay

This matter has been dealt with in the Board's Circular 1475 and Administrative Memorandum 201, of which I am sending copies to the hon. Member. In the reception areas the milk in schools scheme is generally functioning normally so far as the local children are concerned. The evacuated children who were receiving free milk in their own areas are usually continuing to receive it in the reception areas. Many of the evacuated children whose parents were paying for milk in their own areas are continuing to receive it. There has been an inevitable falling off in the consumption of milk by children in the evacuation and some neutral areas where schools are closed pending the completion of air-raid precautions. An increase of consumption may be expected as more schools are opened in both types of areas.