Free milk plan for primary pupils

Argyll and Bute Council

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All primary pupils in Argyll and Bute are to be given free milk in school.

Argyll and Bute Council’s decision comes ahead of the roll-out of free school meals in primaries from August 2021 and the adoption of new Healthy Food in Schools Guidance in April.

A 10 pence charge was introduced in 2015 for all pupils who paid for a school meal with milk to offset the cost to the authority.

The charge was extended in 2017 to cover all primary school pupils whether they were having a free or paid meal, though milk-based desserts were provided to ensure pupils received their required calcium intake from school meals.

The council believes the removal of this charge will deliver nutritional benefits for Argyll and Bute’s youngsters and help families experiencing financial hardship in the pandemic.

Education and catering staff will no longer be required to count, cash, bank and record 10 pence payments from parents, which can be time consuming.

Councillor Alastair Redman, policy lead for business, regeneration and commercial development, said: ‘Providing milk free of charge will assist the wider aim of improving nutrition for our young people in line with the new Healthy Food in Schools Guidance and will also assist families at a time when many people are facing financial challenges.

‘The small loss of income for the council is far outweighed by the benefits we would expect to see which include saving time for staff in our schools on administering the charge and a possible boost for milk contractors and farming communities as milk consumption increases.’