HC Deb 02 December 1941 vol 376 cc996-8
39. Mr. McKinlay

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware of the chaotic position of milk distribution in the West of Scotland; that many large milk dealers who have contracts to supply institutions, have practically no milk left for adult consumers after supplying priority claimants; that there is a growing opinion that the priority scheme, in many cases, is generous and liable to abuse, and that the whole procedure of registration and issue of permits to meet a brief shortage has been an expensive mistake; and whether he will now stop the Ministry's scheme and leave the matter in the hands of the Scottish Milk Marketing Board?

Major Lloyd George

I am aware that in parts of Scotland the supply of milk is shorter than in other parts, and every effort is being made to redirect milk to those areas where the supply is below the average. I cannot believe that my hon. Friend supports the criticism that the priority scheme is unduly generous. An allowance of one pint per day for expectant mothers and children up to five, together with an extra pint for babies up to the age of 12 months and half a pint of milk from 5 to 17 cannot be regarded as excessive. My Noble Friend is not prepared to adopt the suggestion made at the end of my hon. Friend's Question. No other organisation could be given authority to ignore the Government's decision in regard to priorities.

Mr. McKinlay

Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman say why registration did not take place last year, and was this scheme formulated on the advice of the Noble Lord's advisers?

Major Lloyd George

This is the first effort that has been made to try and get equal distribution. As I mentioned last week, the drop in production in Scotland has been greater than in other parts of the country, and we have to" try and make up the difference.

Mr. Messer

Is the right hon. and gal-land Gentleman aware that while priorities are not too generous, they are badly balanced, and will he try to secure a better balance?

Major Lloyd George

That was the criticism when the scheme came into operation. The whole purpose of the scheme is to equalise whatever cuts there may be.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that a child between the ages of 5 and 14 attending school is guaranteed under one scheme two-thirds of a pint and is guaranteed a half-pint at home? Therefore all those school children get one and one-sixth pints per day. Is that equality?

Major Lloyd George

Does the hon. Gentleman say that we should reduce it? Does he consider it too generous?

Mr. Walkden

In view of the fact that expectant mothers, nursing mothers and children under five receive a pint a day, I suggest that there is inequality and that the matter should be re-examined.

Mr. Kirk wood

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that I have a letter here from the Clydebank and Dumbarton Co-operative Society and also a telegram from the County Clerk of Dumbartonshire complaining about the whole position with regard to milk?

Major Lloyd George

I have already indicated to my hon. Friend that the position in Scotland is considerably worse than in the South, because the drop in supplies has been greater. I can only repeat what I have said, that we are directing supplies to Scotland, and I hope the position will be better.

Mr. Gallacher

In view of the fact that the co-operatives are getting such a bad deal in connection with milk, will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman ask his Noble Friend to consult the First Lord of the Admiralty to see if he can do something with his big guns?