Government to consult on funding for nursery milk

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The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed ministers will launch a consultation this summer on the ways in which the nursery milk scheme is funded.


The news comes after officials dismissed a report in The Times  that the Government was considering redirecting money from the nursery milk scheme to pay for healthy food vouchers for low-income parents.

The nursery milk scheme, which provides a third of a pint of milk each day to children under five in registered early years and childcare settings, could face imminent cuts, the paper said.

The money saved would be used to expand the healthy start scheme, as part of the obesity strategy. The scheme currently provides vouchers that can be exchanged for fresh or frozen fruit or vegetables for those who are pregnant or have children aged under four, and earn a take-home pay of £408 per month or less.

Ministers at the Department of Health and Social Care proposed this month that the voucher expansion could be paid for by savings to the nursery milk scheme, which was agreed by Liz Truss, the chief secretary to the Treasury, last week, according to the article.

Health ministers say that the savings could be made without changing eligibility for nursery milk, suggesting that there could be cuts to administration costs, quality of product or the amount handed out to children, the paper reported.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care told Nursery World that there would be a consultation on both the milk scheme and the healthy voucher initiative, but said no cuts to the milk scheme are currently planned.

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