15. Mr. Vane
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what directions he has given to the Milk Marketing Board with a view to ensuring that payment to producers of milk is made on a quality basis.
§ Mr. John Hare
The dairying industry is taking action to discourage the production of milk with a low butter-fat content.
Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the Milk Marketing Board is being inexcusably slow in making progress with this important matter and that the dairy industry would prefer more rapid progress? Since we are behind nearly every other civilised country in this regard, can my right hon. Friend give the Milk Marketing Board a push?
§ 18. Mr. Janner
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has in mind to ensure the more effective marketing of skimmed milk during the present year; and whether he will investigate the methods which have been adopted in the United States of America for establishing a flourishing market for slimming milk from which most of the cream has been removed.
§ Mr. Godber
The marketing of skimmed milk, whether as slimming milk for human consumption or in other ways, is of course the responsibility of the Milk Marketing Board and the manufacturers of milk products. I will, however, pass the hon. Member's inquiry on to the Milk Marketing Board.
§ Mr. Janner
Quite apart from the question of bolstering up the morale of the over-upholstered, will not the Minister himself do something about ensuring that the £1 million spent on advertising produces something effective in this regard? Is not he aware that it would in no way deceive the public if, instead of some of the products which are being imported to produce other commodities, we used the cream obtained from milk sold in this way?
§ Mr. Godber
Like the hon. Gentleman, I have an interest to declare on this subject, but the difficulty which he must face is that an increase in the sale of this type of milk would almost inevitably be reflected in the sales of full milk; so that this is not an easy problem. Two of the largest dairies in the country are already supplying slimming milk to those who need it.
§ 25. Mr. Willey
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to increase the consumption of full price fresh milk.
§ Mr. John Hare
As the hon. Gentleman knows, this is a matter for the Milk Marketing Board and the milk distributive trade, who are co-operating in the work of the National Milk Publicity Council to promote the sale of milk.
§ Mr. Willey
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that I am not so aware? What I am aware of is that the consumption of milk fell by over 20 million gallons last year, and that was disturbing. The fall in the consumption of the milk was due, in the main, to Government policy on prices. That is why a continuing responsibility lies upon them to take some steps to increase the consumption of milk.
§ Mr. Hare
I know that the hon. Member is far too knowledgeable on matters of agricultural policy not to know that responsibility in this matter lies with the Milk Marketing Board, and I shall certainly see that his comments reach it. As to the decrease in milk consumption which he has mentioned, figures are not always conclusive. In January of this year we sold over 1 million gallons more than in January of last year.
§ Mr. Chetwynd
Would not it help if prices were reduced so that people were able to buy more milk than they are now able to?