HC Deb 29 October 1919 vol 120 cc679-81W

asked the Food Controller whether lie is aware that it takes about twelve quarts of milk to make 1 lb. of butter, and that the present controlled price of 2s. 6d. per lb. for butter, in comparison with the price of about 10d. per quart for milk, is so low as to inflict great hardship on those farmers who, previous to the War and now, are compelled to make butter and cheese because, living in out-of-the-way districts, they have not the facilities for quickly disposing of their milk; and whether, under these circumstances, he will consider raising the controlled price of butter to bring it nearer to the corresponding price of milk?


I am aware that the maximum price of home-produced butter is not on a parity with that of milk. The Food Controller has followed this policy in order to ensure that as plentiful supplies of milk as possible may be available, but he cannot agree that it has the effect which the hon. and gallant Member suggests. I may add that although there is at the present time a sufficient supply of milk, it will be necessary in the midwinter months to limit the production of butter in this country in order that as much milk as possible may be available for the community.

Lieut.-Colonel A. HERBERT

asked the Food Controller how the price of 1s. quart for milk is arrived at?


The hon. and gallant Member will not wish me to read to the House the long statement of figures which is necessary in order to reply to his questions. I have, therefore, arranged that the information for which he asks shall be printed in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I may say, however, that the maximum retail price of Is. per quart for milk will be in force during the next five months only in seventy-nine Food Control Committee districts out of a total of 1,831.

The following is the information referred to:

The maximum retail price of milk in Great Britain is made up as follows—
Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar.
s. d. s. d. s. d. s. d. s. d.
Producer's price 2 8 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 0
Wholesaler's margin, including railage 7 2 2 2 4
Retailer's distribution margin 9 7 7 7 8
4 0 4 0 4 0 4 0 4 0

The distributors' margins have been fixed at varying figures in different months, in order that the maximum retail price may not exceed 1s. per quart to the consumer at any period during the winter.


asked the Food Controller whether he has received letters from food committees protesting against the prices fixed for milk as being unnecessarily high and unwarranted; whether he has been asked to receive deputations from such bodies; and, if so, what was the reply?


The answer to the first two parts of the question is in the affirmative. The Food Controller has arranged to receive a representative deputation of Food Control committees on this subject on 3rd November.


asked the Food Controller whether his attention has been drawn to a resolution passed by the city of Nottingham Food Control Committee on the 10th instant stating that the prices fixed by the Milk (Winter Prices) Order, 1919, No. 1208, to be paid to the producer are criminally excessive, and that in their opinion such prices should not exceed 100 per cent. advance on pre-war rates for the same period, and that, in view of the hardship imposed upon the public by the Order, the committee have decided to take no action in reference thereto; and will he be prepared to reconsider the same so far as it applies to the city of Nottingham?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The maximum prices referred to were fixed after the most careful investigation of the cost of production of milk, and I am of opinion that they do not allow an excessive profit to the producer. I do not, therefore, consider that the suggestion made in the second part of the question should be acceded to.

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