§ 27. Mr. Swayne
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement about his Department's support for the provision of milk in schools. 
§ Jacqui Smith
The Government strongly recommend, in guidance for school caterers on implementing national nutritional standards for school lunches published on 15 November, that drinking milk is available as an option every day. Where milk is provided, it must be free to all pupils whose parents are in receipt of Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance. All other drinking milk must be charged for. We encourage local education authorities to participate in the European Union's school milk subsidy scheme. Although the level of subsidy is being reduced from 95 per cent. to 75 per cent. from 1 January 2001, my Department, along with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Department of Health, are pleased to be providing £1.5 million a year in England to make up the funding shortfall. This measure will ensure that no additional costs fall to local education authorities or parents.