HC Deb 07 October 1942 vol 383 cc1217-8
60. Mr. Liddall

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that the distributing margin between the price of milk paid to the producer and the price charged to the consumer is now divided into three parts, that is depôting allowance, wholesaler's allowance and retail distributor's allowance; that the definition of a wholesaler is one who sells over 750 gallons of milk per day retail although he may not actually sell one single gallon of milk per day by wholesale; and, as this gives an advantage to the bigger distributors over the smaller men, whether he will reconsider the scheme?

Mr. Mabane

The reply to the first part of the Question is "Yes," Sir. As in many other branches of the food trades it has for many years been a common practice for some of the larger retailers to perform the wholesale function in respect of their own retail trade. Where the volume of milk handled is sufficient to entitle the firm to be regarded as performing its own wholesale service, a margin is allowed for this service, but this margin is less than is allowed when the service is performed by a separate wholesaler. I cannot agree that the margins provided in the new price structure for milk give an advantage to the larger distributor, and my Noble Friend sees no reason for a reconsideration of this matter at present. The margins will, however, be reviewed in six months' time in the light of a further costings investigation.

Mr. Liddall

Has there been joint general agreement for the scheme?

Mr. Mabane

I think so.

Mr. De la Bère

Why is there a persistent and adverse discrimination against the smaller man? Over and over again the smaller man goes to the wall, and it is not right.