HC Deb 14 May 1934 vol 289 cc1447-8

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will institute an inquiry into the cost of pure milk production, and so enable the Milk Marketing Board to charge such a price to the distributors as would enable a living wage to be paid to the labourer and a fair remuneration to the milk producers?


The question of obtaining more fundamental data as to the cost of milk production is at present engaging the attention of the Milk Marketing Board. While the Government has every sympathy with the two considerations in the second part of the question, my right hon. Friend will no doubt appreciate that the cost of production of milk is not the only factor in the price negotiations between the Milk Marketing Board and the distributors.


Is it possible for an arbitrator to fix a fair price for milk unless the cost of production is ascertained?


An ascertainment of the cost of production, I am afraid, requires a longer investigation than it was possible to get through before the appointed persons were asked to give their decision on the last occasion, and they deplored the want of this factor when they gave their award as to price.

Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND- TROYTE

Does that account for the unfair award which they gave?


The right hon. Gentleman has directed large sums of money to agricultural research in recent years, and are there no statistics available of such an elementary factor?


The hon. Member, who is well acquainted with recent investigations into agricultural economics, will know that the cost of production is one of the most difficult problems in the whole range of agricultural economics.


Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that producers of milk should have the ordinary facilities, which producers of other commodities enjoy, of fixing their own price, and not having persons appointed to fix it for them?