§ 6. Mr. Duffy
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will seek powers to equalise the charges for milk to 7 to 11-year-old school-children and the charges of milk of the same quality delivered by rounds men.
§ Mr. Anthony Stodart
No, Sir, I would not wish to discourage education authorities from providing milk to schoolchildren by enforcing a maximum price which might prevent them from recovering their reasonable expenses.
§ Mr. Duffy
Does the Minister accept that position even though it will mean that, when administrative and delivery costs are added to the retail price of milk, schoolchildren will be paying more than their mothers are paying for milk on the doorstep—and in some education areas much more by the summer—and although this growing divergence arises out of the Government's decision to deprive 7 to 11-year-old schoolchildren of free milk?
§ Mr. Stodart
As I said to the hon. Gentleman on the last occasion when he asked this question, it is perfectly possible for education authorities to buy milk at below the maximum price. It comes ill from the hon. Gentleman to criticise this scheme when his Government withdrew free milk from secondary school pupils and neither made provision for health needs nor allowed local authorities to provide milk and charge for it.
§ Mr. Emery
Will my hon. Friend point out to education authorities that under the powers of the Local Authorities (Goods and Services) Act they can purchase centrally and that there need be no worry about milk costing more than the retail price?
§ Mr. Stodart
I am grateful to my hon. Friend and I will look into his suggestion.