HC Deb 11 May 1964 vol 695 cc19-20
20. Mr. Wainwright

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are his plans to ensure that an adequate supply of milk will be produced for the rest of this year.

Mr. Soames

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Chorley (Mr. Kenyon) on 5th May last.

Mr. Wainwright

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the President of the National Dairymen's Association stated on 4th May that if the weather this summer is unkind to us there will be a shortage of milk during the autumn? In so far as his plans do not cope with any bad weather which may be experienced during the summer and autumn, will he look at this problem?

Mr. Soames

We had extremely bad weather in 1963–64 and, despite that, the monthly quantity of milk going to manufacture never fell below 34 million gallons or 26 per cent. of liquid sales. I do not think there is any justification for thinking that there will be a shortage of liquid milk.

Mr. Vane

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that to keep on raising alarms about a possible shortage of milk in this country does no service whatever, particularly when one bears in mind the very large margin in the month last year when supplies dropped to their lowest?

Mr. Soames

I agree that there are ample supplies, and I have seen no figures which lead me to believe that there is substance in these alarms.