§ Mr. Kenneth Lewis
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the application of the European Community school milk subsidy in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
The Government are anxious that, in exercising the freedom given by the Education Act 1980, local authorities should not be prevented from taking maximum advantage of the generous subsidies which are available from FEOGA for school milk and for milk products supplied as part of the school meal. We have, therefore, been discussing possibilities with the Commission and are hopeful that it will regard356W the contributions made by central and local government collectively as meeting the required 25 per cent. national authorities' contribution.
If this is accepted—as I believe that it will be—it should be possible for local authorities to take advantage of the available FEOGA subsidies while still making their own decisions on pricing, and without necessarily incurring any cost themselves. This should prove very attractive to local authorities and I shall be in touch with their representatives straight away. Details of the scheme will be announced as soon as possible and I hope that as many local authorities as possible will take advantage of it.