HC Deb 17 February 1954 vol 523 cc1972-4
32. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Food the weekly consumption of milk in the United Kingdom at the latest data for which figures are available, compared with 12 months and three years ago, respectively.

Dr. Hill

Total liquid consumption was about 28.6 million gallons per week during December, 1953, and 28.8 and 29.6 million gallons respectively for the same period of 1952 and 1950.

Mr. Swingler

Is the Parliamentary Secretary not ashamed to participate in the policy of cutting down milk consumption in the country, and what steps does he propose to take to alter this?

Dr. Hill

If the hon. Member examines the figures for last December and takes cream into account, then the consumption was rather higher than a year before. Secondly, the consumption of all milk is affected by the increased amount and variety of other foods available.

Dr. Summerskill

Having regard to the numerous statements which the Parliamentary Secretary has made on this subject in the past, could the hon. Gentleman say whether he proposes to introduce any scheme in order to reverse this most undesirable trend?

Dr. Hill

This "undesirable"trend is a microscopic change in the consumption of milk, which is related, as I have said, to the increased consumption of other foods.

Mr. Burden

Is it not obvious that a great many people who were taking slops when the Socialists were in power are now substituting good red meat?

36. Captain Ryder

asked the Minister of Food what safeguards will be imposed to prevent the Milk Marketing Board from exercising its monopoly to file detriment of the distributors and to the advantage of its own creameries.

Dr. Hill

The necessary safeguards are now being discussed with all the interests concerned. I hope it will be possible to make an announcement soon.

Captain Ryder

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that there are considerable misgivings in respect of the Milk Marketing Board, and can we be assured that it will not be placed outside the consideration of the Monopolies Commission?

Dr. Hill

I am aware of the misgivings which my hon. and gallant Friend has in mind. They have been the subject of consultations with the appropriate bodies, including the Central Milk Distributive Committee, and it is hoped that a satisfactory solution will be reached shortly.