PRIMARY school bairns in Shetland, as well as other local authority areas, will no longer receive milk while at school as a consequence of the UK leaving the European Union.
Parents have now been advised that the provision of milk will be stopped as of October after a subsidy under the EU School Milk scheme ceased in July.
Shetland Islands Council’s director of children’s services Helen Budge said that just under half of the isles’ primary pupils are affected by the change.
Budge confirmed that the council has currently no plans to look into funding the scheme itself.
Pre-school bairns, however, will continue to receive milk under a UK initiative, while the Scottish Government may consider its own scheme.
“We are now no longer able to claim EU subsidy for the provision of milk in schools, and we understand that the Scottish Government is giving consideration to a milk and healthy snack scheme for children in early learning and childcare settings,” she said.
The uptake for the subsidised school milk was 41 per cent, she said. Parents have always had to make a financial contribution because the subsidy did not cover the full cost.
Shetland Farm Dairies said the loss of the milk subsidy was regrettable, suggesting that the change would have “a real impact” on the viability of the small co-operative.
Around 600 litres of milk has been distributed to local schools per week, the milk production of about four local cows.
Highlands and Islands MSP and minister for children and young people Maree Todd said the loss of the subsidy “was another example of the detrimental financial impacts” of leaving the EU”.
She added: “Regrettably, this is a consequence of the UK Governments approach to Brexit – the European Commission has decided the UK will no longer be able to claim for subsidy under the EU School Milk scheme from October 2020.
“We would expect the UK Government to provide cover of the costs and the Scottish Government is continuing to engage with the UK Government on this issue.
“Milk is an integral part of the school food and drink regulations given its benefits as part of a balanced and nutritious diet.
“Local authorities still retain the power to provide a subsidised milk scheme within their area based on local needs and circumstances.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 540 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News