Schools’ free milk scheme under fire

Government review of costs could end free milk for under-5s

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Free milk in schools could be a thing of the past for children under 5, amid a Government review of the cost of running the scheme.

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MPs warned yesterday that the cost of supplying free milk means the current scheme is no longer sustainable. Under the current system, where providers are reimbursed for the cost of the milk, costs have risen to 92p per pint.There have been claims that some milk providers are profiteering from the system. The Department of Health revealed the cost of providing the free milk has risen from £27m in 2007 to £53m last year.

Amid calls for caps on the cost-per-pint, Jon Thornes, interim chairman of the School and Nursery Milk Alliance (SNMA) said, “I see in the consultation document that one suggestion is the cap should beat 25p. Where in the country can you buy milk for that?” reports The Independent.

Health minister Ann Milton insisted the review aims to streamline, not eliminate, the process and said, “We are committed to continuing to provide free milk for all under-5s.”

Other alternatives are said to be e-vouchers or switching to a single government controlled provider.

The SNMA warned that children across the country could be “severely disadvantaged” by the review, reports The Independent.

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