48. Mr. T. THOMSON
asked the Minister of Health whether, when considering Amendments to the Milk and Dairies Act of 1915, he will give favourable consideration to the desirability of enabling local authorities to assist in securing improved supplies of milk in their area by means of classification and by having the power to revoke or suspend certificates and of registration of all milk sellers in their area?
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Sir Alfred Mond)
Yes, Sir. Both these proposals are receiving my careful consideration.
§ 81. Mr. HURD
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will communicate to the House, for the information of the public, the explanation which the milk companies have given in answer to his inquiries as to the reasons why the farmer in the south-western counties is given only 8d. per gallon, delivered at his own cost into London, for milk for which the London consumer is charged 1s. 8d. per gallon?
§ 82. Major MORRISON-BELL
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he can give any explanation as to why the price of milk to the producers in the southwestern countries should be only 8d., when the consumer in London is charged 1s. 8d. per gallon; and what services the distributor performs between the London termini and the actual consumer to justify the additional charge?
The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Sir Arthur Boscawen)
The explanation 2419 usually given in regard to the difference between the price paid by the consumer and that paid to the producer is that this is the sum required on the average to cover cost of collection from the station in London, retail distribution, and risks involved in dealing with surplus milk. The cost of retail distribution to the consumer includes rent, wages, upkeep of retail plant and vehicles, and profit to the retailer
§ 83. Mr. A. HERBERT
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will consider the possibilities of legislation on behalf of the farmers who have bought their holdings, relying upon the policy of the Government, and who are now faced with bankruptcy owing to the fall in milk prices?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
I am prepared to consider any practicable proposals which my hon. Friend may submit to meet the financial difficulties of farmers, but I may point out that the fall in the price of milk is due to causes which have no connection with the change in the agricultural policy of the Government.
§ 84. Mr. W. SMITH
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the great disparity in the price paid to farmers for milk and the cost to the consumer, he will appoint a Committee of Inquiry to investigate the question of costs and prices and to suggest means by which the interests of the consumers can be adequately safeguarded?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
I am considering whether the appointment of a Committee would be likely to lead to any useful result, and am in communication with the principal farmers' organisations on the subject, but I can make no statement at the moment.