Milk Snatcher? School milk row troubled Margaret Thatcher for decades after

National Archives releases documents revealing Margaret Thatcher's thoughts on iconic free school milk row.

 

Almost two decades after she was branded the "milk snatcher" for ending the provision of free school milk, Margaret Thatcher still recoiled at memory of the political storm she unleashed, newly released government files reveal.

 

As education secretary in Edward Heath's government her decision in 1970 to stop the provision of milk for junior school pupils prompted the playground taunt "Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher".

 

Files released by the National Archives show that 19 years later, Mrs Thatcher - by then prime minister - was horrified when health secretary Ken Clarke proposed finally ending free milk for nursery schoolchildren as well.

 

"No - this will cause a terrible row - all for £4 million. I know - I went through it 19 years ago," she scrawled in a handwritten note.

 

"Health has enough to do to get the white paper and community proposals through. Any scheme for saving £400 million or more I will look at. But not £4 million."

 

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