HC Deb 27 November 1963 vol 685 cc273-4
30. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the discontent among farmers in the south-west of Scotland about the price of milk; and what proposals he has for preventing a further decline in the income of milk producers.

Mr. Stodart

Yes, Sir. The National Farmers' Union of Scotland and the three Scottish Milk Marketing Boards have made representations on the subject to my right hon. Friend's Department. The question of the financial position of milk producers is, of course, a matter for consideration at the Annual Price Review.

Mr. Hughes

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that our complaint against his right hon. Friend is not that he went to America but that he ever came back? Is he aware that the standard of life of milk-producing farmers has been getting steadily worse? What does he intend to do for the small farmers?

Mr. Stodart

I would not accept that the hon. Gentleman's first surmise would be accepted by most people in Scotland. I know only too well of the difficulties facing many milk producers, but while I know of some who have gone out of production, I am not aware of any significantly large movement out of milk production. It is always reasonable to expect a certain degree of movement in any sector of agriculture, but I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the needs of the dairy farmers, particularly small dairy farmers, are closely borne in mind.

Mr. Brewis

Is my hon. Friend aware that the shortage of liquid milk is affecting employment in the creameries and condensed milk factories in this part of the world? Will he urgently seek to reappraise the current view that milk is in over-supply and that we do not want any for manufacturing?

Mr. Stodart

Yes, Sir.