School milk prices in one area of the Black Country are set to rise by almost 20 per cent, it has been announced.
Wolverhampton City Council’s cabinet resources panel has agreed recommendations that the cost of providing milk for children each day be raised from £10 a term to £11.97 a term.
The 19.7 per cent increase would come into effect in January and marks the first price rise since September 2010.
Council chiefs say the decision was made because of an increase in the cost of milk from suppliers. Under the plans schools will be able to decide whether or not to pass on the cost to parents or absorb it from their own funds.
Councillor Phil Page, cabinet member for schools, said: “The price of milk has been frozen for three years and in the time the cost to us has increased by almost one third.
“The vast majority of children who have school milk get it free of charge, so we are talking about a small number of families affected.We have recommended the increase, but it is up to the schools themselves to make the decision as to whether or not they pass on the cost to parents.”
Wolverhampton City Council provides around 2.2 million 200ml cartons of milk a year to children aged up to 11 at primary and special schools.
Children under five and those receiving free school meals will not be affected by the increase.
Lorraine Adams, headteacher of Oxley Primary School on Bushbury Lane, said the increase could cause financial hardship for some families and the school could look at ways to allocate funds from its budget to pay for the milk.
In Dudley milk costs £8.23 a term, and in Birmingham it is £8.86. Prices are higher in Sandwell and Walsall, where schools buy in their milk from a private company and charge around £15.