§ 79. Mr. Whiteley
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that three cows were sold for 7s. at Stanley, Durham, to secure levies due to the Milk Marketing Board from Mr. W. Mitcheson, Bumhope Flats farm; and, as this procedure is causing considerable anxietv in the district, whether he will have inquiries made into the matter?
§ 81. Mr. Thorne
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he can give the House any information about the sale of three 1075 animals, the property of Mr. Mitcheson, of Bumhope Flats farm, which were seized by the county court bailiff on information laid by the Milk Marketing Board, and were auctioned at Stanley, Durham; whether he can state the amount for which the animals were sold; and whether the total amount received cleared the debt owing by the farmer?
§ The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. W. S. Morrison)
I understand from the Milk Marketing Board that Mr. Mitcheson is a producer-retailer of milk, who has held a producer-retailer's licence throughout the operation of the Milk Marketing Scheme, but has persistently refused to pay the contributions due to the Board under the provisions of the scheme. After several warnings and requests for payment, the Board took steps for the recovery, through the county court, of the sums due and obtained judgment for £28 4s. 8d. for levies and £3 4s. 6d. costs. In default of payment on the court order, the order was executed and three cows were sold by auction for 7s. As far as can be ascertained by the Board, the cows are still on Mr. Mitcheson's premises. The hon. Members will be aware that under the provisions of the Milk Marketing Scheme all licensed producer-retailers of milk are required to make certain contributions to the Board; and in justice to the great majority who meet their obligations, the Board must take steps to recover the sums due from defaulters. The Board are considering what further action to take in this case.
§ Mr. Thorne
Having regard to the sum realised from the sale of these cows, does it not prove what combination can do?
§ Mr. Morrison
I am not prepared to say without notice what factors made the price paid for these cows so low.
§ Mr. Macquisten
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that thousands of small cow-owners in Scotland have been groaning under the burden of this levy, and that many have been ruined?