HC Deb 19 February 1934 vol 286 cc13-5
24. Mr. LEWIS

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the fact that under the milk marketing scheme co-operative societies are able to supply the public with milk more cheaply than other re- tailers; and what steps he proposes to take to ensure that all retailers in any given district are placed on the same footing with regard to the selling price of milk?


As I indicated in the reply I gave on 31st January to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) under the contract prescribed by the Milk Marketing Board for the period 6th October, 1933, to 31st March, 1934, retailers, other than co-operative societies, may allow to their customers dividends or discounts on retail sales of milk, provided that such dividends or discounts are paid not oftener than once in every three months and that they do not exceed the rate per pound actually paid on retail sales of milk by any co-operative society operating in the district. My hon. Friend will see, therefore, that ordinary retailers are placed on the same footing as co-operative societies.

Lieut.-Colonel MacANDREW

Are the ordinary retailers in Scotland to be in the same advantageous position as in England?


That question should be addressed to the Secretary of State.


Are these questions asked in order to bring co-operative prices up or retailers' prices down?


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he can yet, or when he will be able to, announce the policy of the Government restricting the import of oversea milk products so as to secure for the home producer a living return for labour?


I am at present unable to add to the answers I gave my right hon. Friend on 5th and 12th February.


When will the right hon. Gentleman be in a position to answer?


I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would not wish me to prophesy, but, as he has already put the question down twice, if he repeats it on Monday I hope to give him the same answer then.


Is the right hon. Gentleman consulting with the Minister of Health?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a detrimental effect is being produced on the market for cows due to calve in the spring


I am aware of the difficulties arising under the present system, but we are taking all these matters into active review.


Can the right hon. Gentleman give any reason why the Government decision is delayed, considering that unless some decision is arrived at the whole marketing scheme may collapse?


The importance of the statement which my right hon. Friend has just made indicates the necessity of taking measures which really will avert such a danger. These measures cannot be rashly taken, and they will require full consideration before they are announced in the House.