HC Deb 02 November 1939 vol 352 cc2099-100
51. Mr. Henderson Stewart

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the serious position likely to develop in the milk industry, where, owing to the inducements offered to cereal and meat production and the lack of anylike incentive to the production of milk, farmers are tending to swing over from milk to other lines, and are now selling or preparing to sell large numbers of heifers and fat cows for slaughter; and whether, in view of the danger of milk shortage next year, he will give urgent consideration to this matter and propose either a subsidy on milk cows or a guaranteed higher price for milk, in order to maintain milk production at its maximum during the war?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I can assure my hon. Friend that the Government is fully aware of the desirability of ensuring an adequate supply of milk. I am watching carefully the effect upon milk production of any measures taken or contemplated for other forms of agricultural production.

Mr. Stewart

In view of the seriousness of the matter, which was mentioned in the "Times" last Monday, will not the right hon. and gallant Gentleman consider making a very early statement regarding either the price for milk or a subsidy for cows?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I hope that the hon. Member will not exaggerate the situation, which I hope will be a temporary one.