Parliamentary activity
Parliamentary drop-in event 

As noted in the previous update, the SNMA parliamentary drop-in took place on 2nd November. 13 MPs attended, including Shadow Defra Secretary Rachael Maskell and Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner.

Following the event, we sent the MPs who attended photos of themselves with Dr Hilary, a local press release and a briefing. Labour MPs Alex Cunningham and John Cruddas published an account of the event on their websites. Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner MP and Conservative MP Sheryll Murray highlighted their support for school and nursery milk on Twitter.

School Food APPG presentation

On Wednesday 16th November Dr Hilary gave a presentation to the School Food APPG in the House of Parliament, with around 30 stakeholders from relevant sectors there to find out more about the health benefits of school milk, including Stephane Wood, Director of School Food Matters; Louise Davies of the Food Teachers Centre; and Helena Berthon of the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation.

The presentation was extremely well received and through post-event discussions and actions we have re-engaged with Linda Cregan, the CEO of the Children’s Food Trust and co-chair of the School Food Plan Alliance, who we previously met in the summer. She is planning to present at one of the forthcoming SNMA meetings and to support us with our engagement with Ofsted over the organisation’s plans for a thematic review on obesity, healthy eating and physical activity in schools during 2017. To support both these efforts, we have also re-engaged with Jackie O’Neil and Cat Byrne of the DfE Healthy Pupils Unit, who we also met last summer.

At the event, we also discussed the possibility of Dr Hilary featuring in a school milk video with Sally Shadrack, chair of Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA). We also relayed copies of the presentation to those who requested it.

Meetings and engagements

We currently have one meeting arranged for 17th January with:

  • Mary Glindon MP, Shadow Farming Minister
Additionally, we have one meeting arranged for 30th January with:
  • Diana Johnson MP, Vice Chair of the School Food APPG and Vice Chair of the Fit and Healthy Childhood Group
We are arranging the details of meetings with:
  • Lucy Powell MP, former Shadow Education Secretary
We are also approaching further parliamentarians from our key stakeholder list and the MPs in the top ten areas of our obesity and dental health league table that we have not yet met.
House of Commons oral questions
During a Defra oral questions session in the House of Commons, Labour MP Nic Dakin asked a question supplied to him by the SNMA on the assessment the Government has made of the importance of the provision of school and nursery milk in supporting dairy farmers. Farming Minister George Eustice responded that there was a European Union scheme to support school milk, which is “worth a few million pounds”, but played down its importance compared to the nursery milk scheme. 
House of Commons written questions
We have secured the tabling of seven written questions over the last month. Labour MP George Howarth tabled three written questions on school milk and the Eatwell Guide, asking what assessment the Department for Health had made of the Eatwell Guide’s revisions on children’s milk consumption as well as on children’s obesity levels and dental health. Additionally, SNP MP Martyn Day has tabled a question asking how much milk is purchased by nursery and primary schools each year. We are expecting these four questions to be answered shortly.
Three have received answers. Martyn Day asked what representations Defra has received from the dairy industry since the March 2016 publication of the revised Eatwell Guide. Farming Minister George Eustice said that he holds quarterly meeting with DairyUK, the NFU and AHDB Dairy to discuss key issues and opportunities for the UK dairy sector and that the Government publishes information on these meetings as part of its transparency efforts.
Mr Day also asked the Education Secretary how much milk is consumed in nursery and primary schools. Children’s Minister Edward Timpson said that the Department do not keep records of milk consumption.
Labour MP Nic Dakin asked what steps the DfE is taking to ensure that school pupils and their parents or guardians are aware of the health benefits of nursery and school milk consumption. Mr Timpson responded that the DfE has encouraged schools to create a whole-school culture that promotes health and well-being so that all children are fit, healthy and able to learn; and that many take their own steps to promote their milk provision. He also noted that school governing boards are responsible for their food policies (including milk) and that the Department trusts them to decide what is best. Additionally, Mr Timpson stated that the Department are working closely with stakeholders on plans to implement the new European School Milk Scheme from August 2017.
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