The dairy industry has welcomed a 7% increase in the government's Healthy Start voucher scheme for families on low incomes.

The increase takes the value of the voucher, which can be exchanged for fresh milk, fruit and vegetables, from £2.80 to £3 from April.

"We are pleased that the Department of Health has decided to increase the value of this benefit," said Jim Begg, director general of industry body Dairy UK.

"Food inflation was beginning to seriously undermine its value and we have been campaigning for an increase for some time. Dairy UK will continue to work with the DoH to ensure the benefit of the voucher remains at a meaningful level and that take-up is maximised."

The increase will also help promote milk delivery services, which - along with high-street retailers - accept the vouchers, he added.

Healthy Start replaced the Welfare Food Scheme in November 2006 and aims to ensure families on low incomes can afford basic food products for their children.