HC Deb 12 June 1939 vol 348 cc888-90
35 and 37. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) in view of the fact that the cost of milk distribution is lower in towns of high density, what is the reason for the minimum retail price of milk being higher in London than in any other part of the country;

(2) what are the limits of the London area for the purpose of fixing minimum retail prices by the Milk Marketing Board; and whether he is aware that there are complaints from a number of the inhabitants of Essex that they have to pay winter prices, as in London, throughout the year?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I am sending the hon. Member a statement of the minimum retail prices prescribed in the contract for the sale of milk by wholesale, from which he will see that the minimum price of 2s. 4d. per gallon applies to all urban districts, boroughs or county boroughs in the South-Eastern region (which includes Essex) having a population exceeding 25,000 and to the City of London and the Metropolitan Police district.

36. Mr. Parker

asked the Minister of Agriculture what were the circumstances in which milk supplies were cut off from Mr. J. A. Thomas, of Wisbech; and whether he will have an inquiry as there is a wide feeling in that district that great hardship has been caused unnecessarily?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on 15th May to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Accrington (Major Procter).

38. Mr. A. V. Alexander

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he proposes to introduce a Bill this Session to deal with the milk industry; what will be its scope, and on what date the Bill will be submitted?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

As I stated in reply to a question asked by the hon. Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Price) on 1st May, I appreciate that existing legislative provision in regard to the milk industry expires on 30th September next, and I hope to introduce a further measure of milk legislation this summer. I cannot yet say, however, what will be the scope of the Bill or when it will be introduced.

Mr. Alexander

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the date on which it will be introduced?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I am afraid I cannot give the exact date.

Mr. T. Williams

Is the Bill likely to contain any provisions apart from merely recouping the Milk Marketing Board?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I am not in a position to make a statement on that.

39. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that farmers in Gloucestershire are receiving, since 1st May, a lower price for their milk; and why has there been no corresponding reduction in the price of milk to the consumers in the borough of Cheltenham?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

The wholesale price for the sale of milk by registered producers during May was Is. 1½d. per gallon compared with Is. 4d. per gallon for April. The minimum retail price applicable in Cheltenham during May was 2S. per gallon compared with 2s. 4d. per gallon in April.

Mr. Lipson

Is my right hon. Friend aware whether the reduction has been made, since the information I have is that no reduction has taken place?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

That is outside my sphere.

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