HC Deb 05 November 1934 vol 293 cc631-2
29. Brigadier - General CLIFTON BROWN

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will consider the recommendation of the Milk Reorganisation Committee that a guaranteed premium for milk produced by accredited producers should be borne by both producers and buyers; and whether he will refuse his sanction to any accredited producer's scheme that does not embody that principle?


The recommendation to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers was made on the hypothesis that there would be brought into existence a Joint Milk Council representing producers, distributors, and manufacturers; and that the Council would decide the rate of the premium to be paid to accredited producers and the rate of the levy required. Paragraph 63 of the Milk Marketing Scheme as formally approved requires the Milk Marketing Board, as soon as they think it practicable, to prepare a Register of Accredited Producers, and to pay to every producer whose name is on that Register a "guaranteed quality premium" per gallon of milk sold by him. The Minister's sanction is not needed for any scheme adopted by the Board in compliance with that paragraph.

Brigadier-General CLIFTON BROWN

Does my right hon. Friend realise that under the present scheme the retailer can mix accredited milk with other milk and that the consumer suffers thereby while the retailer is let off? Is my right hon. Friend taking any steps to stop anything of that sort?


The House has handed over wide powers to the producers of the product, and it would be necessary in the first place to see whether the producers approve of the various actions of their representatives.


Can my right hon. Friend say when this scheme will definitely be brought into operation?


I am afraid I cannot say. I believe there are discussions going on with the local authorities at present.

31. Lord SCONE

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to the stricture passed by Judge Sir Alfred Tobin upon the secret manner in which the Milk Marketing Board inflicts fines upon producers; and if he will represent to the Board that such practices tend to make marketing schemes in general, and the milk scheme in particular, suspect to the agricultural community?

34. Sir G. FOX

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to recent judicial pronouncements on legal proceedings instituted by the Milk Marketing Board; and whether, in view of the possible effect of such pronouncements on public opinion, he will suggest to the Board the desirability of issuing an official statement on the whole subject?


On a point of Order. May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether it is in accordance with the procedure of the House to make reference in questions to the decisions of a county court judge, seeing that there is a stricture embodied in these questions?


The hon. Member knows very well the Rule under which the House acts in regard to the conduct of a judge, and I do not think these questions disregard that Rule.


I would refer my hon. and Noble Friends to the answer I gave on Thursday last to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for East Dorset (Mr. Hall-Caine) of which I am sending them a copy.