Summary and Recommendation
The Scheme intentions are required to be delivered via local authorities by the introduction of secondary legislation. The recommended delivery option is as described above, that the Scheme should be universal and fund delivery of plain fresh cow's milk and agreed alternatives; and a healthy snack item (a portion of fresh fruit or vegetables). It should extend provision to an additional cohort of children (to cover all pre-school ages) and deliver of upfront funding to all pre-school day care providers and childminders registered with the Care Inspectorate and the Scheme, directly via local authorities in line with existing funding streams.
The Scheme will achieve the Scottish Government's aims to:
- Promote the health of children and their families;
- Ensure these children are given the best opportunity in their early years;
- Offer all pre-school children who receive care for two hours or more per day from a day care provider or childminder registered with the Care Inspectorate and the new Scheme with a free daily portion of fresh fruit or vegetables and 189mls (1/3 pint) of plain fresh whole (children over 1 year) or semi-skimmed (children over 2 years) cow's milk; or infant formula, plain fresh goat or sheep milk, or an unsweetened calcium enriched non-dairy alternative for those children who cannot consume cow's milk because of medical, ethical or religious reasons.
- To ensure a consistent and secure line of financial support is available to all registered day care providers and childminders to provide the milk and healthy snack provision;
- Reduce the administrative burdens for childcare settings as a driver and incentive for settings to participate in the new Scheme which would in turn increase uptake of fresh milk, fruit and vegetables;
- Further improve outcomes for children and young people and help make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.
The anticipated cost to the Scottish Government in 2021/2022 is estimated to be of the order of £9-£10m, including the transitional costs from the UK Nursery Milk Scheme which will remain in force up to and including 31 July 2021. This represent a substantial increase on previous expenditure on the Scottish component of the UK Nursery Milk Scheme, accounted for by:
- an anticipated increase in uptake (albeit difficult to quantify exactly at the outset),
- extension of the Scheme to include children aged 5, and
- the addition of the healthy snack item (a portion of fresh fruit or vegetables).