HC Deb 01 March 1922 vol 151 cc370-1
44. Mr. HURD

asked the Minister of Health whether he will consider the advisabiliy of at once setting up, in consultation with the Minister of Agriculture, a small Committee to consider, in the light of the present financial position of the country and of the agricultural industry in particular, the simplest means of ensuring the cleanliness and purity of the milk supply of urban areas, with a view to the necessary amendment of the Milk and Dairies (Consolidation) Act, 1915, before that Act is brought into operation?


I am in continual consultation with the Minister of Agriculture on this subject, as well as with other persons well qualified to express opinions, and I am considering now the introduction of legislation to deal with the question.


Is it a fact that if this Act comes into force without amendment, it is very liable to paralyse the milk supply of this country?

Viscountess ASTOR

Is it not true that the Minister of Health has received representations from influential producers and distributors of milk that if these proposals were put into an Act, towns would be able to adopt model Clauses, which would enable them to improve the milk supply at very little cost to the taxpayer, and great gain to the infant welfare of the country?

Sir J. D. REES

Will my right hon. Friend see that this new Bill entails no extra charge on the unfortunate ratepayer?


I will certainly bear in mind what my hon. Friend (Sir J. D. Rees) says. With regard to the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth (Viscountess Astor), I have been in consultation with a number of local authorities, and a Bill is now being prepared, which, I think, will meet the general view, and will lead to amendment and modification of the Act of 1915, which is rather difficult to administer under present circumstances.


Are we given to understand by that reply that it is a question of money in preference to children's health?


The hon. Gentleman has no right to make such a statement. I am preparing a Bill to improve the supply of milk. I said I would see, if possible, that it should cast no burden on the ratepayers.