The SNP today called on the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition to admit who knew about the proposal to scrap free milk for the under 5’s in nursery schools as the party laid a parliamentary motion opposing the move and supporting free milk for young children.
In a letter to Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley, Angela Constance MSP asked:
- · Which other ministers were aware of this plan
· Was the Treasury aware of the proposal
· Had this been put before George Osbourne’s Star Chamber
· Had officials started drafting legislation to abolish free nursery milk
· Where is the evidence to support the ministers claims that the scheme does not provide value for money.
Commenting on the continuing developments over the provision of milk Angela Constance said:
“Tory and Lib Dem ministers are in a macho battle over who can cut the most and are forgetting the health and wellbeing of our children in the process.
“Unfortunately Cameron’s u-turn shows it is not the policy of cutting free milk that he is opposed to but the bad publicity and the echoes of Thatcher, Thatcher milk snatcher that forced this change.
“It is inconceivable that this proposal was not referred to Andrew Lansley – the UK Health Secretary, Michael Gove the Education secretary and no doubt the Treasury before it was raised with devolved governments.
“The Tories and Lib Dems must reveal how far this policy went and what other plans they have to cut essential support for the health and wellbeing of our young children.
“It is vital that children get the best start in life and improving infant nutrition is a huge part of that – not to mention the effect better infant nutrition has on improved health and wellbeing in later life. Providing milk in nurseries is critical to this continued improvement, and the SNP believes it must continue to be an option for children aged 1-5 every day.
“This whole affair exposes the problems of having Westminster control over everyday matters in Scottish life and the need to ensure that politicians in Scotland, with Scotland’s best interests at heart are able to take these decisions in the future.”