HC Deb 13 July 1936 vol 314 cc1647-8
23. Mr. LEACH

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the Milk Marketing Board has been obliged, owing to the rapid increase in surplus milk production, to sell milk for cheese making since April, 1935, and milk for butter making since October, 1935, at prices substantially below the Government's estimated cheese milk price, which is based on quotations for Dominion imports; and whether, seeing that the depression in the milk industry in a time of rising prices for milk manufacturers is due to failure to increase liquid milk consumption to balance the increase in milk production, and not to competition from Dominion dairy products, he will not proceed with the proposed levy on Dominion butter and cheese?


I am aware that the prices obtained by the Milk Marketing Board for milk sold for manufacture into butter and cheese are lower than the statutory cheese milk price prescribed under the Milk Acts, 1934 and 1936. I could not agree that the course proposed in the last part of the question follows logically from the hon. Member's premises, and I would remind him that the question of duties or levies on imports of butter and cheese will not be considered by the Government until the report of the Milk Reorganisation Commission is available. All relevant considerations will then be taken into account.


If it turns out that the suggestions I make in the question are well founded, will the right hon. Gentleman undertake not to impose the levy?


I am afraid that is a hypothetical question.