§ Mr. Grocott
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will seek powers to provide children with school milk, where the county council has been asked to supply milk at no cost to itself, but refuses to do so, as in the case of Staffordshire and other areas.
§ Mr. Gwilym Roberts
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what study she has made of the statement of the Staffordshire County Council in connection with its decision not to provide free milk for 7 to 11-year-olds; and if she will make a statement;
(2) how many local authorities to date have decided not to provide free milk for 7 to 11-year-olds; and if she will list them in the Official Report;
(3) if, in view of the recent decisions taken by local authorities such as Staffordshire in not providing free milk for 7 to 11-year-olds, she will consider making this welfare provision mandatory.
§ Miss Margaret Jackson
I understand that the Staffordshire Education Committee has not yet considered the recommendation from its schools sub-committee against providing additional free milk. My Department has been notified by one local education authority—Kent County 409W Council—that it has decided not to take advantage of the new power to provide free milk to children of junior school age. It would require legislation to make such provision mandatory, which is clearly not possible at present.