§ Mr. Madden
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many families are entitled to free welfare milk on grounds of low income; and how many are currently claiming.
§ Mr. Deakins,
pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 9th December 1976; Vol. 922, c. 342], gave the following reply:200W
Separate figures are not available of families in England who are entitled to free welfare milk. The latest date for which figures are available is December 1975, when it is estimated that in Great Britain there were about 390,000 potential beneficiaries in nearly 300,000 families with an apparent entitlement to free welfare milk on grounds of low income. This estimate is based on a DHSS analysis of Family Expenditure Survey data and is subject to sampling error. The total number of claims—successful or otherwise —made on grounds of low income in the 16 weeks ending on 2nd December 1975 was 6,500 for Great Britain, 5,500 being for England. It is estimated that in December 1975 there were 12,000 beneficiaries in 8,000 families in Great Britain for whom tokens for free milk had been issued on grounds of low income. None of these figures includes those families who were receiving supplementary benefit or family income supplement where expectant and nursing mothers and young children qualify for free milk.
I am concerned about the apparent low uptake of this benefit and the Health Departments have brought to the notice of the public the current income levels at which families can get free milk and the possibility of making a claim. This has been done by public announcements, Press notices and, with the help of other bodies, the distribution of leaflets and advice to families. We have issued a new leaflet (M11) covering entitlement to free dental treatment, free glasses, free prescriptions, and free milk and vitamins, which gives examples of the new income limits, a guide designed to help people to decide whether they qualify for the free benefits, and a claim form. My Department is about to place an advertisement about free milk and vitamins for families with low incomes in publications that are made available to mothers when their pregnancy is confirmed and when they are in hospital for their confinement.