HC Deb 13 March 1922 vol 151 cc1779-81

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has now had an opportunity of perusing the statement issued by a firm of condensed milk manufacturers which suggests that the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has rendered liquid milk supplies unsafe; and whether any information that has come into his possession before or since the outbreak warrants the suggestion?


The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the latter part, I have no information which in any way warrants the suggestion that milk supplies have been rendered unsafe for human consumption through the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Lieut.-Colonel ASHLEY

Would it not be well for the Minister of Agriculture to make some public statement to that effect in order to reassure the public?


Yes, Sir; I made a statement similar to this, only giving more details, only a fortnight ago, and in reply to a question.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of consulting the Law Officers of the Crown to see if action cannot be taken against this firm for making so outrageous a statement, and one calculated to seriously alarm the public?


I shall certainly consult the Law Officers.

79. Lieut.-Colonel BELL

asked the Minister of Agriculture if his attention has been drawn to the fact that, as a result of the contracts now being negotiated between the dairy companies and the milk-producers, the price received by the producer during the ensuing months will be approximately that of 1913, while the costs of production are still greatly higher than in that year, more especially those caused by the local and Imperial burdens borne by agricultural land; that this must eventually result in great loss to the industry and in a further decrease in the wages of agricultural workers, I which are already extremely low; and whether, in view of this fresh blow to the industry, he has succeeded in prevailing on the Treasury to bring the grants under the Agricultural Rating Act of 1896 up to date?


I am advised that very few, if any, new contracts have yet been made, and it is not, therefore, possible at present to say what will be the average price received by milk producers during the summer. As regards the last part of the question, I am not in a position at present to make any statement on the subject of the rates on agricultural land.