HC Deb 11 March 1957 vol 566 cc796-7
43. Mr. Hastings

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the average number of gallons of fresh milk consumed per year per person in each of the last eight years.

Mr. Amory

As there are a number of figures involved, I will, with permission, circulate the details in the OFFICIAL REPORT. They show that notwithstanding a 2 per cent. decrease over the last eight years, consumption is 53 per cent. above pre-war.

Mr. Hastings

Is the Minister satisfied with the consumption of milk in this country? Does he not realise that not only is milk a very valuable food but that milk production is particularly suited to our agricultural conditions? Will he do everything in his power to increase the consumption of milk in any way he thinks necessary?

Mr. Amory

I agree with what the hon. Gentleman says. I do not think that we have reached the ceiling of our desirable milk consumption. I should like to see it go higher. [HON. MEMBERS: "Price."] At the present price it is very good value indeed as a foodstuff, and all I can say is that, as I have told the House, I am doing my bit.

Mr. Wiley

Is the Minister aware that it is quite ridiculous that the Milk Marketing Board should waste money on publicity when, by two successive price increases in past months, the Minister has depressed the consumption of milk, and is further doing so by increasing the price of welfare milk?

Mr. Amory

I am afraid that I cannot agree with what the hon. Gentleman has said. The present price of retail milk is thoroughly reasonable, both compared with the price before the war, and also, all things considered, compared with the price some years ago. The hon. Gentleman knows very well the Government's general policy of removing the general food subsidies, a process that was started by the hon. Gentleman's own Government.

Mr. J. E. B. Hill

Would my right hon. Friend agree that the consumption of milk is not nearly so much a question of price as of habit and, as a very distinguished milk drinker himself, would he say whether he would welcome the establishment of a modernised milk bar in the refreshment bars of this House so that we might set a good example?

Mr. Amory

I would welcome that, and I would ask my hon. Friend if he would give that practical and cordial support if and when it started.

Mr. Willey

Has the right hon. Gentleman not forgotten that he has repeatedly admitted here that the consumption of milk has fallen each time he has put up the price?

Hon. Members


Mr. Amory

Remarkably little indeed—remarkably little indeed.

Following are the figures:

Total consumption of liquid milk per head (gallons)
(pre-war) (21.1)
1949 33.0
1950 33.7
1951 33.8
1952 33.2
1953 32.5
1954 32.4
1955 32.3
1956 32.3

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