SNP MSP Emma Harper has called on the Tory Government to commit to funding school milk subsidies after Brexit, echoing similar calls from the NFU this week.
The EU School Milk Scheme has provided over £3.5m of subsidies to Scotland over the last five years – subsidising quality milk products for school children, contributing to a healthy way of living and nutritional education.
It is supported by national top-ups and plays a vital role in encouraging healthy eating habits from an early age.
In an echo of the Thatcher years, Theresa May’s Tories look set to let EU milk subsidies evaporate into thin air.
Defending her decision to take away free milk for school children in 1971, Margaret Thatcher said: “My parents could afford to pay for me in very much worse times to have a little milk every morning. In these much more profitable and successful times, they can afford to pay for their own children to have milk.”
Following World School Milk day, SNP MSP Emma Harper has said: “I myself am the daughter of a dairyman and grew up on two dairy farms in South West Scotland, which is home to 48% of Scotland’s dairy farms and is where I received subsidised school milk.
“I support the NFU’s calls for the Tories to continue funding school milk once the UK leaves the EU.
“Over the last five years, Scotland has received over £3.5m in milk subsidies from the EU scheme – one of the many important EU funding streams which the Tory Brexiteers are happy to see cast aside.
“The politics of the Conservatives in 2017 doesn’t seem to have progressed much since the milk snatcher days when Thatcher claimed that all parents should be able to afford milk for their children just like hers could. Is it the case that the Tories are so blasé about Brexit precisely because their own families won’t be the hardest hit?
“Scottish farmers will be severely disadvantaged – to the tune of £250m a year – if, after Brexit, agricultural support funds are calculated using the Barnett formula. This could devastate producers in Scottish agriculture and our successful food and drink sectors.
“16 months since the referendum, 18 months away from leaving the EU – very simply questions still remain over EU funding streams and the clock really is ticking for Theresa May. They promised a decision on EU milk subsidies by August 2017, and that has not happened.
“I have written to Michael Gove to find out what assurances the UK government can provide that milk snatching will remain a policy of the past.”
Disclaimer: This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP). Images added by Welfare Weekly.