§ Lord CHARLES BERESFORD
asked the President of the Local Government Board the number of municipal dairies or milk depots in England; the date they I were instituted; whether any municipal dairies or milk depots have been closed, and the reasons; whether any of them were successful financially; if not, whether he will state what loss they sustained; whether he is aware that the suggestion of making a warranty or invoice not available as a defence to any proceedings in the Sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1895 and 1907, will press very hardly on the vendors of milk; whether any dairy trade experts were consulted before the institution of milk depots; whether he is aware that, if municipal dairies or milk depots are created there can be no competition; and if he proposes to take steps to secure that the absence of competition shall not be to the detriment of ratepayers and the consumers?
§ Mr. BURNS
My information shows that there are now in England eight municipal milk depots for infants. I am not aware of the existence of any municipal dairies as distinct from such depots. Of the existing milk depots, one was established in 1899, two in 1901, one in 1902, one in 1903, two in 1904, and one in 1906. Four milk depots, one of which was established to provide sterilised milk during an out-break of infantile disease, have been closed. In one of these cases the closure was contrary to the advice of the medical officer of health, and was made upon the ground that milk modified as required could be obtained in the ordinary way without the intervention of the local authority. This depot was not a financial success. In one of the existing depots, established in 1906, a profit was made for the first time in 1911, and amounted to £41. I have no further information as to the financial position of milk depots, nor as to the244W advice taken by local authorities before establishing them. The withdrawal of the right to plead a warranty in defence in prosecutions in regard to milk under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts will not deprive the vendor of the power to protect himself which he possesses under the general law. As regards the last part of the question, I may refer to the power to make Regulations which it is proposed to confer by Clause 18 of the Milk and Dairies Bill.