HC Deb 30 October 1934 vol 293 cc20-1

asked the Minister of Agriculture if any changes are contemplated for regulating the import of oversea milk products and enabling home milk producers to earn a reasonable livelihood?


My right hon. Friend will recall that the situation arising from the low level of prices of manufactured milk products, butter and cheese in particular, has been dealt with by the provision, under the Milk Act, 1934, of advances to Milk Marketing Boards. Grants are also being made to the boards for improving the quality of milk and for increasing the demand. No immediate changes are in contemplation. As regards processed milks, the quantitative regulation of imports is being continued. The Governments of the foreign countries mainly concerned in the United Kingdom market have been asked to arrange for the following reductions in supplies during the last quarter of this year, the reduction in each case being based on imports during the corresponding quarter of 1932; cream, 35 per cent.; condensed whole and condensed skimmed milk, 30 per cent., milk powder, 25 per cent. Endeavours are being made, which the Government have every hope will be successful, to secure the continued agreement of the Dominion Governments concerned in the arrangements proposed in respect of these products.


May I ask whether butter is included in the products to be regulated? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that British butter to-day is selling at wholly unremunerative prices?


Butter is not included in the reductions which I have ennumerated, and, with regard to the low price for butter, that is dealt with in the first part of my reply to the Question.


May I ask what these restrictions mean when translated into terms of liquid milk what percentage they are of the total output of milk?


I cannot say without notice, but the hon. Member knows that they represent a small proportion of the total milk output of the country.