§ Mr. Cary
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that there is at present an acute shortage of Cheshire and Lancashire cheeses, and that this shortage is due to the diversion of milk supplies to other manufacturing purposes by the Milk Marketing Board; and whether, in view of the agreement entered into between the Board and the cheese manufacturers regarding the surrender of a certain quantity of their milk for other purposes and the fact that the consequent rise in the price of these cheeses is causing the loss of the Home market in favour of foreign cheeses, he proposes to take any action in the matter?
§ Mr. W. S. Morrison
I am aware that owing to a decline in the quantity of milk available for manufacture at the present time the intake of factories producing butter and cheese, which are the least remunerative outlets for milk, has had to be curtailed. My hon. Friend will appreciate that to increase the intake of these factories would mean depriving more remunerative markets of part of their supplies and would have the effect of depressing milk producers' returns. Since the price of milk for cheese-making is determined not by its plenitude or otherwise but by reference to the average prices of imported cheese, I cannot accept the suggestion that a rise in price has been forced upon the cheese-making industry by reason of the diversion of milk supplies.