HC Deb 14 November 1938 vol 341 cc489-91
44. Mr. W. H. Green

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many retail milk rounds have been purchased in Norwich and district by the Milk Marketing Board what price was paid for these rounds; and what is the daily gallonage now sold retail in that area by the Milk Marketing Board?

Mr. W. S. Morrison

The information which the hon. Member desires is not in my possession.

Mr. C. S. Taylor

Does not the Minister think it is time that the Milk Marketing Board published its accounts?

Mr. Morrison

The Milk Marketing Board has to act in accordance with the Act, and any person who has a complaint against them has the remedy as laid down in the Act of 1931.

Mr. Green

Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to get the information?

Following is the reply:

The information available is not sufficient to enable calculations to be made regarding any losses sustained by producers of sheep and barley owing to price changes during the last six months as compared with a year earlier, but I would point out that in view of the higher yields of barley this season the decline in prices is not an accurate measure of the comparative return to the grower. The following statement shows for the six months May-October, 1937 and 1938, the average prices returned by market reporters at representative markets in England and Wales for fat sheep, and also the average prices of barley returned under the Corn Returns Act, 1882, and the Corn Sales Act, 1921.

Mr. Morrison

I have no authority to obtain the information.

Mr. Alexander

Is not this board a statutory board set up by Parliament? The right hon. Gentleman has had notice of this question for days: why has he not asked the Milk Marketing Board for the information?

Mr. Morrison

It is a statutory board and in. the Act of Parliament my powers are severely limited. I can only exercise the powers given me by Parliament.

52. Mr. W. Roberts

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will take power in the forthcoming Milk Bill to include the operations of the Milk Marketing Board the sale of cream wholesale to creamery depots?

Mr. Morrison

As I am at present advised, I do not think that it would be practicable to confer upon the Milk Marketing Board power to regulate sales of cream, but I will gladly consider any suggestions which the hon. Member may care to bring to my notice.

Mr. Alexander

May we ask that before the Bill is presented a communication will be made to the House giving full particulars of the Milk Marketing Board's trading activities?