§ 17. Mr. LAMBERT
asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the total amount involved by the House of Lords judgment in the milk licence charges; where these moneys are; and to what firms of licensees does the Government propose to pay them?
As was stated in this House on the 18th February, the milk licence fees held by the Government, amount approximately to £105,000. The amount of such fees held by the distributing companies is approximately £160,000. The money held by the Government will be repaid to the persons from whom it was received.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
Does the President of the Board of Trade consider it fair to pay back this money to these licensees, who made huge profits during the War?
That is a view which I endeavoured to press upon the Committee, but in vain. The Government have no option; the obligation is to repay the sum to the persons who have sued the Government.
§ 18. Mr. LAMB
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the milk licence fees collected on behalf of the State which it is now proposed to validate represent a sum of over a quarter of a million sterling which, had the permission of the Food Controller 1129 been granted, would have been distributed amongst the producers concerned; whether he is aware that the distributors have not so far indicated their willingness to pass the moneys to their suppliers; and what steps he proposes to take to deal with the position?
The answer to the first two parts of the question is in the negative. As was stated in the reply to the hon. Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Sir C. Mansel) on Thursday, "Where licensees have already paid the milk licence charge, the obligation on the Government is to repay them and no one else."
I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to a similar question on the 18th March, of which I am sending him a copy.