HC Deb 09 November 1934 vol 293 cc1425-7

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has now received the further Report of the Committee of Investigation on the complaints made by the East of Scotland Milk Producers' Federation regarding the operation of the Scottish Milk Marketing Scheme and, if so, what is the nature of the Committee's recommendations and what action he proposes to take?

The SECRETARY of STATE for SCOTLAND (Sir Godfrey Collins)

The Report of the Investigation Committee was submitted to me on Monday. After studying its terms, I yesterday arranged to meet representatives of interested parties next Tuesday. With my hon. Friend's permission, I propose to circulate a summary of the Committee's findings in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Will the Minister find it possible to arrange to have the action of the summonses which have been issued delayed pending the result of this investigation?


No, Sir, I cannot give any undertaking on that point.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the matter?


Speaking from memory and at short notice, I think that I am prohibited from taking such action on that point, but I will take further opportunity of looking into my powers.

Captain SHAW

Will the report be published in full?


No, Sir. I am publishing the findings of the Committee.

Following is the summary:

It will be recalled that in their interim report in July (summarised in reply to a Question in Parliament on the 25th July), the Investigation Committee proposed that the parties should discuss ways and means of securing a temporary alleviation of the effect of the scheme on level producers.

These discussions took place and certain proposals were formulated by the Board and submitted to the Committee.

The Board's principal proposals were:

  1. (1) That a premium of 2d. a gallon should be given to level producers during the month of March to August, 1935, in respect of a certain basic quantity of milk; or alternatively that the standard price should be varied so as to give higher returns for winter production.
  2. (2) That six additional haulage centres should be provided in the Eastern district.
  3. (3) That powers should be given to the Board to enable them to discourage excessive production if necessary.
  4. (4) That the contribution required from producer retailers should be calculated on the basis of cow-stock instead of on that of milk sales.
The Committee's specific finding, after hearing evidence from the parties, is that it is contrary to the interests of the complainants and not in the public interest that no effort should be made to mitigate the loss inflicted by the operation of the scheme upon level producers in general and in particular in the East of Scotland.

Accordingly, so that some provision should be made for alleviating the effect of the scheme upon the said producers in order to enable them if they so wish, to adjust their systems of dairying to meet the changed conditions under the scheme, the Committee unanimously recommend the adoption of the second alternative in the Board's first proposal, and the adoption of the second and fourth proposals. As regards haulage centres, they propose that the Board should be enabled to alter the centres prescribed from time to time should changed conditions make that advisable.

With one dissentient they also support the third proposal.