HC Deb 06 March 1946 vol 420 cc337-8
65. Colonel J. R. H. Hutchison

asked the Minister of Food under what regulations the food office in Stirling required applicants, transferring their custom from the firm of J. Miller and Company, to sign a form stating that they were not members of a co-operative society.

Dr. Summerskill

In areas where milk deliveries have been rationalised it is necessary to restrict the consumer's choice of dairyman when a retail milk business is sold. We do not, however, compel those who may object in principle to cooperative trading to transfer to a cooperative society which may buy a milk round from a private trader. In such circumstances we allow those who are not members of a co-operative society to transfer to a private trader.

When Stirling Co-operative Society, Limited, purchased the retail milk business of Messrs. J. Miller and Company, the food executive officer for Stirling prepared a simplified form of application for the benefit of those who desired to change their registration for milk, containing the information required to enable him to give effect to that provision.

Colonel Hutchison

Is the hon. Lady aware that the form which I have here is a direct bias in favour of the co-operative societies? I have asked her whether her Ministry approves such action being taken by one of her food officers, and I have not had an answer.

Dr. Summerskill

I am very surprised to hear the hon. and gallant Gentleman's statement. I interpreted the form as being a direct bias against the cooperative societies.