HC Deb 24 January 1918 vol 101 cc1125-6
42. Mr. LOUGH

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether a maximum price to the producers ranging from 1s. 8d. in Ireland to 2s. per gallon in Great Britain has been fixed for milk; whether he is aware that it requires 2½ gallons of milk to make 1 lb. of butter, so that on this basis the cost per lb to produce butter ranges from 4s. 2d. to 5s.; whether the Food Controller still maintains a price of 2s. per lb. fixed in the summer or autumn; whether he has considered the effect of this in discouraging the producers of butter and in accounting for the famine in that article of produce which at present exists; and whether he intends to take steps to deal with the matter?


The maximum wholesale price for milk to producers in Ireland is fixed by the Milk (Ireland) Order at 1s. 4d. per gallon; the corresponding price in England is 1s. 9d. per gallon from December, 1917, to March, 1918, inclusive. The price fixed to the producer for Irish creamery butter is 224s. per cwt.; the corresponding price for British made butter is 230s. per cwt. The answer to the second part of the question is in the affirmative, so far as quantity is concerned, but the hon. Member has not taken into account the value of separated milk. The maximum prices for butter and milk were fixed by the Food Controller in order to ensure the fullest possible supply of fresh milk for infants and nursing mothers. It is not considered to be in the public interest to encourage the home production of butter at the expense of the milk supply.


Will the hon. Gentleman admit that the cost of production now is double as much as when these maximum prices were fixed, and that that ought to be taken into account in maintaining and prosecuting this industry?


I am not sure whether the figures are correct, but I will convey the right hon. Gentleman's remarks to the authorities.


Will the hon. Gentleman say what it is proposed to do with milk which is only left over in small quantities? If it is not to be made into butter, how is it proposed to deal with it?


I cannot answer that, but I presume you can make butter from milk left over.


I understood the hon. Gentleman to say that butter making is discouraged?


So it is, in order that milk may be used for the purpose for which it is needed—for children and the mothers of young children.


Is not butter of importance for young children?

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