§ 48. Sir W. Smithers
asked the Minister of Food what persons or organisations outside his Department he consulted before fixing the retail price of milk; the present price; and if he will take off all controls and allow the law of supply and demand to operate freely.
The present maximum price of milk is 6d. per pint. The views of the trade were well known, and no special consultation was necessary when this price was fixed. With so large a consumer subsidy involved price controls are necessary.
§ Sir W. Smithers
Does not the Minister know, and will he not proclaim, that an attempt to overcome the law of supply and demand must end in disaster? Will he ensure that his policy does not attempt the impossible, and will he tell the trade so?
I will not comment on my hon. Friend's generalities, but the removal of price control would result in a substantial increase in the price of milk.
§ 49. Mr. Willey
asked the Minister of Food whether he will revoke the Milk (Great Britain) Order, 1954, in order to avoid an increase in the price of milk on 1st August.
§ Mr. Willey
Will the hon. Gentleman look at this matter again and consult the Milk Marketing Board about it, because it has expressed its view? Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that it would create universal satisfaction if the Government refrained from increasing the price of milk in August?
I am aware of the views of the Chairman of the Milk Marketing 28 Board, but I would remind the hon. Gentleman that not to proceed with the August change to 7d. per pint would result in an increase in the subsidy from the present level of £90 million per year to £120 million.
§ Mr. Osborne
What is the average cost of production per pint throughout the year of the non-welfare milk, which my hon. Friend said is sold at 6d. per pint?