Parliamentary activity
Meetings and parliamentary engagements

We had one meeting in January:
9th January:
  • Scott Mann MP (Conservative, Chair of the Dairy APPG)
This was a positive meeting in which we introduced the Alliance, the range of organisations it represents, and the campaigns it is running. Mr Mann informed us that the Dairy APPG would focus its efforts over the next year on how dairy could improve its image and dairy’s post-Brexit export opportunities. Mr Mann said he would continue to support our campaign and would table questions to the Government about the concerns we raised.
Parliamentary Questions
  • Mary Glindon, Labour MP for North Tyneside and the sponsor of our parliamentary drop-in event, tabled two questions asking what assessment Defra has made of the potential number of school children impacted by the loss of subsidies from the EU School Milk Scheme, and what discussions Defra has had with other departments on the matter. George Eustice responded on behalf of the Government saying, “the longer-term approach to the EU Scheme is still under consideration.”
  • In December, Labour MP and School Food APPG Chair Sharon Hodgson tabled a parliamentary question asking what the Government was doing to prevent cases of malnutrition. Health Minister Steve Brine has since responded to the question referencing the role of nursery milk, saying “the nursery milk scheme provides a free daily portion of milk to 1.5 million children and babies.”
Parliamentary debates
  • Milk was mentioned in a debate in the House of Lords on ensuring children receive regular dental examinations and any necessary treatment. Ahead of this we briefed peers on the positive effects of school milk on children’s oral health. Lord Storey, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Education, raised the point that all children under the age of five were entitled to free milk and suggested this be rolled out to all primary school children, and suggested that dental milk be more widely available for parents. Baroness Chisolm of Owlpen responded on behalf of the Government saying that while “milk does not per se improve teeth” it is a good source of calcium, a healthy alternative to sugary drinks and “safe for children’s teeth.”
  • Labour’s Baroness Kennedy of Cradley asked an oral question in the House of Lords about what action the Government is taking to improve dental care in England” and for which the particular prevalence of poor oral health in children was discussed. We briefed a number of the peers present on the valuable contribution school and nursery milk makes to children’s oral health prior to this question, and will continue to look for opportunities to highlight the role of milk in improving dental health.
  • We briefed MPs ahead of a debate in the House of Commons on the impact of leaving the EU on agriculture, led by Alistair Carmichael. Although school milk was not referenced directly in the debate, it provided an opportunity for us to remind MPs of the importance of implementing a domestic replacement to the EU school milk scheme after Brexit.
Personnel changes
  • Prime Minister Theresa May conducted a reshuffle in the Cabinet this month which has seen changes in the Department for Education and the Department of Health:
  • Damian Hinds replaced Justine Greening as Education Secretary and Robert Goodwill, Children’s Minister, was replaced with Nadhim Zahawi.
  • The Department of Health changed its name and remit to the Department of Health and Social Care; and Stephen Barclay and Caroline Dinenage became health minister while Philip Dunne was removed from the Department. Public Health Minister Steve Brine remained in post.
  • The Defra ministerial team remained unchanged.
We have amended our stakeholder maps accordingly and will approach new members of relevant departments as appropriate.
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