HC Deb 21 January 1924 vol 169 cc492-3
24. Mr. MORSE

asked the President of the Board of Education, as representing the Minister of Agriculture, whether, seeing that during the period of control a sum of 2.d. per gallon was deducted from the price paid to the producers of milk in Somerset and that it has been established in the courts that this deduction was illegal, the Government and the distributors have retained the amounts so deducted and the total amount of these deductions; and whether any steps are being taken to repay them to the milk producers to whom they are due?

Colonel GIBBS

The hon. Member's question appears to be based on a misapprehension. The decision in the courts to which he refers related to the legality of the licence fee charged upon milk distributors in respect of milk purchased in four south-western counties, but no decision has been given that the milk producers in those counties received a lower price for their milk than that to which they were entitled. The licence fees, which were declared illegal, are held partly by the Government and partly by the distributing companies, and the Government proposed to defer repayment of the amount in their hands until Parliament has come to a decision upon the War Charges (Validity Bill). The Government have no power to make any repayment to the milk producers. The matter lies between them and the distributing companies.


Is the twopence collected in order to pay the licence charges?

Colonel GIBBS

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would put that question down.