HC Deb 20 May 1931 vol 252 cc1969-70
51. Sir W. PRESTON

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that one of the principal retail milk-supplying firms in London is charging 2s. per gallon for milk for which they only pay the farmer 9½d. per gallon, delivered at the London termini; and whether, in view of the importance of milk as a diet for children and invalids, he can take steps to correct the difference between the wholesale and retail prices?


I am aware that the usual retail price of milk in London is as stated. The price paid to the farmer under the terms of settlement approved by the Permanent Joint Milk Committee varies according to circumstances, but I have no information as to the particular case referred to. I have no power to alter the prices of milk, but, as the hon. Member will be aware, the Consumers' Council Bill contains provisions which would invest the Board of Trade with certain powers to deal with prices that are found to be excessive.


Will the hon. Gentleman ascertain what is the actual price which is being paid by United Dairies to-day to farmers; and will he get in touch with United Dairies to try to persuade them to reduce the price to the consumer?


I am afraid that the powers of my Department are rather limited. We did endeavour some time ago to persuade milk retailers to vary prices which we thought were excessive, and they refused to do so. Hence, we are introducing legislation to deal with it.


And are not the Government also taking powers in the Agricultural Marketing Bill to deal with milk prices?