HC Deb 07 July 1965 vol 715 cc1561-2
4. Mr. Evelyn King

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the price per gallon currently paid to Dorset farmers for milk; and whether he will increase it.

56. Mr. Gower

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the price now being paid for milk to farmers in Wales; and whether he will increase the price.

Mr. Hoy

The price payable to Dorset milk producers for June is 27.86d. per gallon. For producers in North Wales, it is 27.65d.; in South Wales, 27.61d.; and in Monmouthshire, 27.94d. The prescription of regional monthly producers' prices is a matter for the Milk Marketing Board.

Mr. King

Will the hon. Gentleman use his influence to see that this price is increased? Is it not a fact that 40 per cent. of the small farmers earn less than £12 a week and that although a 1d. or 2d. on a gallon would make an immense difference to farmers, the difference in the cost of living would be only marginal?

Mr. Hoy

We want to encourage farmers, and these figures show that they are getting a full 1d. extra, but these prices are fixed for areas by the Milk Marketing Board. I think that the hon. Member would be resentful if the Government attempted to interfere with that procedure.

Mr. Wingfield Digby

Is the Minister aware that in Dorset, this traditional dairy county, at these prices dairies are still closing, particularly those associated with small farmers?

Mr. Hoy

All I say in reply to that is that milk production continues to increase.

Mr. Gower

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have been here all the time and Question No. 56 is in my name.

Mr. Speaker

I am very sorry, but I still find it desirable to maintain the rule I laid down until the House discusses this problem of Questions.