§ Mr. Hepworth
asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) whether, in view of the number of complex returns which the milk producers are required to make to the Milk Marketing Board, he will represent to the Board that the cost of all clerical assistance utilised by these milk producers in compiling the returns shall be refunded to them out of the funds of the Board;
(2) whether he is aware of the resentment among the 68,000 producer-milk retailers of England and Wales at the detailed nature of the returns they are compelled, under penalties of £100 for each offence, to make to the Milk Marketing Board, and that such work needs far more time and labour than any producer-retailer can afford; and whether he will consider making representations to the Board in favour of a reduction of much of this clerical work;
(3) whether he is aware that, owing to the number of detailed returns which are now required by the Milk Marketing Board from the producer-retailers of milk, the dairyman's business is being very seriously hampered; and whether he will inquire from producer-retailers the exact effect on their industry of the time taken to compile all these returns, with the object of ultimately making representations to the Board in favour of their reduction?
§ Mr. Ramsbotham
I have been asked to reply. The matters raised by my hon. Friend are primarily the concern of the Board and their registered producers, and my right hon. Friend does not feel able to intervene in the manner suggested. I understand, however, that, as a result of discussions between the Board and representatives of producer-retailers, certain adjustments have been made concerning the record to be kept by producer-retailers, which it is hoped will remove the difficulties. I am sending a copy of the Board's resolution on the subject to my hon. Friend.