HL Deb 07 December 1937 vol 107 cc350-1

My Lords, I rise to ask the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries a question of which I have given him private notice: that is, whether he can state the detailed arrangements for giving effect to the price insurance plan for milk used for butter and cheese outlined in the White Paper on milk policy last July, and whether the Government have taken into account the changed level of prices and costs.


My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for giving me the opportunity of providing your Lordships' House with the statement which has been made by my right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture in another place this afternoon. The statement is as follows:—Paragraph 7 of the White Paper indicated the general outline of a price insurance plan under which Exchequer assistance would be payable, within the limit of unspecified standard gallonages, in respect of milk used in factories for butter and cheese, and milk made into cheese on farms in the event of the average market prices of imported butter and cheese falling over a period below standard prices of 100s. and 56s per cwt. respectively. In the legislation to give effect to the White Paper policy, the Government will propose that the standard gallonages for milk used in Great Britain for butter and cheese should be 125 million gallons per annum in each case. The Government have also reviewed the figures to be fixed for the proposed standard prices. They have taken into account the factors referred to in my noble friend's question. They also consider that it would he desirable to take some account of the seasonal variation in the quantities of milk available and in the costs of production, and the forthcoming legislation will provide that the price levels at which Exchequer assistance should begin to operate should be 112s. in summer and 120s. in winter per cwt. of butter, and 62s. 6d. in summer and 67s. 6d. in winter per cwt. of cheese. At present the average prices of imported butter and cheese are 133s. and 7os. 6d. per cwt. respectively. It is also proposed to provide for an independent review of both standard prices and standard gallonages at three-yearly intervals.


I am much obliged to my noble friend.