HC Deb 14 May 1935 vol 301 cc1537-9
24. Sir P. HURD

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether in view of the increased production of milk this summer and the greater output of condensed milk and dried milk in this country, the Government is taking further steps to check by quantitative restriction or tariffs the importations of processed milk products?


The Governments of the foreign countries mainly concerned in the United Kingdom market with condensed milk, milk powder and cream, have been asked to arrange for certain additional reductions in supplies as from 1st April last, the reductions in each case being based on imports during the corresponding months of the year previous to the in- troduction of voluntary import regulation, namely, June, 1932, to May, 1933. I am circulating details of these reductions in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Arrangements are also being made to secure reductions in imports of condensed whole milk, condensed skimmed milk and cream from the Irish Free State. As my hon. Friend will be aware, imports of processed milks from foreign countries are already subject to customs duties. It is understood that the interests concerned have under consideration an application to the Import Duties Advisory Committee for additional duties on condensed skimmed milk, condensed whole milk and milk powder (the duty on cream has been conventionalised under the Anglo-Danish Trade Agreement which operates until June, 1936). If such an application is made, future policy will be considered in the light of any recommendations received from the Import Duties Advisory Committee.


Is it not a fact that English manufacturers are now capable of supplying the British market?


There has no doubt been a considerable increase in the production of these commodities from British milk, and it is on account of that that these reductions have been asked for.


Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what the farmers or the Government are doing, apart from providing liquid milk for poor children, to help to extend the sales of liquid milk, because in that direction lies the only possible hope for the dairy farmers of this country?


A very extensive scheme of bonus for clean milk has been introduced by the Milk Board in order to secure a guaranteed quality of milk upon the foundation of which any expansion of the market will rest.

Lieut. - Colonel ACLAND - TROYTE

Have the reductions actually been made?


Oh, yes, Sir.


Is the question of the regulation of milk products being discussed with the Dominion representatives who are now here?


No, Sir, we have not so far undertaken those discussions.


Would not one of the most certain ways of discouraging what are really milk substitutes be to bring down the retail price of fresh liquid milk in this country as supplied to the public?


It is very desirable to bring down the retail price, but as long as manufacturing milk is at its present very low level it automatically forces up the price of liquid milk.

Following are the details.

Condensed Skimmed Milk: 10 per cent. (making 40 per cent. in all) during the six months to 30th September.

Condensed Whole Milk: 5 per cent. (making 35 per cent. in all) during the quarter ending 30th June and a further 5 per cent. during the quarter ending 30th September.

Milk Powder: 5 per cent. (making 30 per cent. in all) during the quarter ending 30th June and a further 5 per cent. during the quarter ending 30th September.

Cream: 5 per cent. (making 40 per cent. in all) during the quarter ending 30th June and a further 5 per cent. in each of the quarters ending 30th September and 31st December.