§ 17. Mr. Michael Marshall
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is satisfied with the arrangements of payments to farmers by the Milk Marketing Board.
§ Mr. Marshall
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Chairman of the Milk Marketing Board has called on milk producers to produce extra milk during the winter months and that this appeal comes at a time when the banks are seeking extra security because of the falling value of cows? In those circumstances, will he consult the board to see whether Government assistance and encouragement could help in the way of advance payments from the board or in guaranteeing overdrafts in these difficult circumstances?
§ Mr. Bishop
The measures announced on 3rd October were designed to increase the milk producers' return from 1st October for six months. The decisions of the Milk Marketing Board accorded with the terms and intentions of that statement. The chairman of the board welcomed the Government's announcement, and we think that it will help substantially. As for the future, that is a matter for the annual price review, which is now under way.
§ Mr. Bishop
There is no difference between us here. We recognise the need for milk producers to have some idea of the future, but also, because of our membership of the Common Market, we cannot make a statement before negotiations are concluded. We hope to know something about that by the end of January or February next year.