§ Mr. HURD
asked the Minister of Agriculture what progress, if any, has been made in the adjustment of winter milk prices as between producers and distributors; and whether he will advise the distributors to take representatives of the producers into consultation at this stage, so as to avoid a repetition of the friction which arose over the fixing of spring prices, and necessitated the intervention of the Ministry?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
I am not aware whether any discussions have yet taken place between representatives of the producers and of the wholesale milk trade in regard to the prices to be paid for milk next winter. I feel assured, however, that both parties fully appreciate the advantage of consultation on the matter, and I 1485W do not consider that it would be desirable, at any rate at the present time, for me to take any steps to bring the parties together.
§ Mr. A. HERBERT
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he can give the approximate date when the twopences will be repaid to Somerset farmers; and if he is aware that, owing to the adverse market conditions, it is of the utmost importance to many of these farmers to receive this sum, of which they have been illegally deprived, as speedily as possible?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
As I stated in reply to a question my my hon. Friend on the 24th ultimo, the Government propose to accept the judicial decision of the House of Lords as regards the licence fee of 2d. per gallon imposed on milk distributors of the four south-western counties. The charges levied under the Milk Order are accordingly excepted from the operation of the War Charges (Validity) Bill, and repayment will be made as soon as the assent of Parliament is received to this proposal. The question whether the amount of the licence fee should be paid to the milk producers is a matter which must be settled by agreement between the producers and the distributors, as the Government have no power to compel the exporters to make any such payment.