HC Deb 29 October 1918 vol 110 cc1280-1
46. Mr. WRIGHT

asked the Prime Minister whether it is the intention of the Government to permanently control the wholesale milk trade and to establish permanent Government milk depots, or whether the alternative policy recommended by the Buckley Sub-committee to give every encouragement to the formation of producers' co-operative societies will be acted upon?

The MINISTER of FOOD (Mr. Clynes)

I have been asked to reply. My Department has assumed control of the wholesale milk trade as a war measure, but it would be premature to anticipate what action the Government may take in the future with regard to it. The recommendation to which the hon. Member refers is not an alternative to Government control. The present scheme of control provides for the taking over of milk depots already set up by producers' co-operative societies.


As the milk producers are being urged to combine and to erect milk depots for milk will facilities be given to them to do so; if not, do the Government intend to erect these depots, and will producers be given the option of taking them over after the control is removed?


The form of Government control contemplated will not in any way interfere with the progress and development of co-operative effort.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that at the present time co-operative effort is being almost paralysed by the Government measures of control that have been taken, and in the absence of an announcement by the Government that co-operation will be encouraged and that the control will only be temporary, are they not, practically speaking, killing agricultural co-operation?


I see no signs whatever of paralysis or of difficulty when co-operative effort and State control are run together.