22. Major DESPEIMCER-ROBERTSON
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he has yet taken any steps to consult with the countries importing processed milk products into Great Britain, with a view to arranging for a restriction of such products in our market?
§ 23. Sir GIFFORD FOX
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he can now make a statement with regard to the action which he intends to take to pro mote the welfare of the British dairy industry; and whether, in view of the menace to that industry from the increasing stocks of condensed skimmed milk in this country, he will give early consideration to this branch of agriculture?
§ Major ELLIOT
Following the Debate in this House on Wednesday of last week, I invited representatives of foreign countries from which we import processed milks to meet me on Saturday, 13th May, when I discussed the position with them. Having regard to the increasing supplies of home-produced milk now being diverted to manufacture, to the accumulation of stocks in manufacturers' hands and to the urgent need of providing market-access for the larger home output, I felt bound to ask, as an emergency measure, for a substantial reduction in imports of tinned cream, of condensed whole and condensed skimmed milk and of milk powder in order to establish more stable conditions on the market in the interests of all concerned. A further meeting will take place in the 23 course of a few days and I have every hope that an adequate measure of voluntary co-operation will be forthcoming in this further effort to deal with a supply-situation which was rapidly getting out of hand. I should add that, in conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Dominions, I am arranging for an early consultation with Dominion representatives.
§ Mr. HANNON
Would any injury be done to any industry if condensed skimmed milk were excluded altogether?
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
Could the right hon. Gentleman say what is the exact proportion of imported process milk products to the whole products produced?
§ 39. Mr. LAMBERT
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether any, and if so, what representations have been made to New Zealand and Australia for the restriction of milk product exports to Great Britain?
The SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. J. H. Thomas)
Arising out of representations by the High Commissioner for New Zealand as to the general fall in wholesale price levels in the case of butter, discussions have taken place with His Majesty's Governments in the Commonwealth of Australia and in New Zealand with a view to the possibility of the regulation of imports, in a manner satisfactory to all parties. It will be appreciated that, in view of the Ottawa Agreements, the regulation of imports into the United Kingdom of butter, cheese and other milk products from the Dominions before August, 1935, could only take place by voluntary arrangement. The discussions are not yet complete and, as my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries has just indicated, a further consultation with Dominion representatives is being arranged.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
In view of the urgency of the case, can the right hon. Gentleman say when some decision will be arrived at?
A decision will be arrived at as early as possible, and, from our point of view, the earlier the better.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that hit, right hon. Friend supported the Ottawa Agreement?