Hackney MP Diane Abbott dubs the government “milk snatchers”

Hackney MP Diane Abbott has branded ministers “milk snatchers” after they launched a review into ways of cutting the cost of providing free milk to nursery school children.

The shadow public health minister, who represents Hackney North and Stoke Newington, slammed health minister Andrew Lansley for the move, saying: “The government claims the current scheme is too expensive, but David Cameron and Andrew Lansley may well make this scheme so complicated there is a real risk that nurseries will not take this up any more.

“Trying to cut the cost of this scheme may end up snatching milk away from the country’s children, disproportionately affecting the poorest.”

Ms Abbott dubbed the plans the “return of the milk snatchers”, referring to the 1970s when the Tories scrapped free milk for children over seven.

Back then, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was dubbed “Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk Snatcher”.

The milk scheme was set up in the 1940s and costs �53million annually, but this week the government insisted it remains committed to providing free nursery milk to youngsters.