HC Deb 03 June 1935 vol 302 cc1523-5

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will state the total output of milk in Great Britain for the years 1931 to 1934 and for the first four months of this year?


As regards the output of milk in years prior to 1934, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to his question on 10th May. According to statistics published by the Milk Marketing Boards, the quantity of milk recorded as having been sold in 1934 under the English and Scottish schemes, but excluding the Aberdeen and North of Scotland schemes, which were in operation for part of the year only, was approximately 986 million gallons. The corresponding figures for January-March, 1935, again excluding the Aberdeen and North of Scotland schemes, is 250 million gallons. I regret that figures for April are not yet available.


Has the right hon. Gentleman tried to estimate the percentage increase in the production of liquid milk since the provision of the subsidy for manufactured milk in 1934?


I require notice of that question


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the recent advertising contract of the Milk Marketing Board was put out to tender; and, if not, by what means it was allocated; what is the figure of the contract; and whether he is satisfied that proper steps were taken by the board to obtain the most advantageous and efficient service?


The Milk Board have, I understand, appointed agents for the Press and poster work in connection with this campaign, but I am not aware that they have issued any advertising contract. I hope to lay before the House within the next few days particulars of arrangements for a milk publicity campaign which has been initiated by the Milk Marketing Board and which has been submitted to me for approval.


asked the Minister of Agriculture in how many districts the Milk Marketing Board has tested the elasticity of demand by varying the selling price of milk; and what is the result of these experiments?


Milk is sold by wholesale on contracts covering the period October, 1934, to September, 1935, inclusive. The contracts do not provide for variation of the retail price of liquid milk, except that on the application of a majority of the retailers in any area the Milk Marketing Board may reduce the minimum appropriate retail price for that area. Reductions have been approved by the Board in about 280 areas, but I have no information so far as to what has been the effect on the demand. The arrangements now in force regarding the supply of milk at special rates to school children have, I understand, resulted in a very considerable increase in the quantity of milk drunk in schools.


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the Milk Marketing Board has considered the possibility of arranging for the supply of cheap liquid milk to the hospitals by means of a scheme whereby all hospitals within a given area undertake to combine to purchase a regular large daily quantity of such liquid milk; and whether he will urge the Board to deal with this matter as one of urgency?


The position with regard to the price of milk supplied to hospitals was explained in the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton (Sir J. Hallam) and the hon. Member for the St. Rollox division (Mr. Leonard) on 2nd May. I am sure that the Milk Marketing Board would at all times be willing to consider any scheme for the bulk purchase of milk which would be to the mutual advantage of producers and purchasers. Any proposals, such as those which my hon. Friend indicates, which the hospitals may wish to suggest should therefore be made direct.


Has the Milk Marketing Board power under the existing scheme to sell directly to institutions such as hospitals, on the basis of any figures upon which they may agree?


I understand that in some cases hospitals have already combined in order to purchase bulk supplies at the lower rates applicable to milk supplied wholesale or in large quantities.


But can the Milk Marketing Board sell directly to these institutions without retailers taking any part of the ultimate price?


Obviously, that does not arise out of the question on the Paper.

Forward to