HC Deb 09 February 1939 vol 343 cc1131-2W
Mr. R. Morgan

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that, as a result of the collapse of prices brought about by the action of Dominion and Dutch importers, home manufacturers of milk products have been forced to approach the Milk Marketing Board for a further reduction in the price at which milk for manufacture is sold in this country; and whether in view of the unfortunate effect which such a reduction must have upon the development of milk production in this country, he will give an assurance that action will be taken in the near future to safeguard the interests of the home milk-products industry, upon which the dairy farmers are depending for so large a part of their market?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I am aware of the recent collapse of certain price agreements between home manufacturers of condensed milk and milk powder and the importing interests and of the resultant approach to the Milk Marketing Board to which my hon. Friend refers. The problem of regulating the market for such products, including the re-introduction of price agreements, is at present engaging the attention of the Departments concerned and I can assure my hon. Friend that there will be no avoidable delay in seeking a satisfactory solution.

Major Carver

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he can give approximate figures as to the milk equivalent of the total volume of milk products imported into this country during 1938; and how this figure compares with the estimated production of milk in this country for the same period?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

The fresh milk equivalent of all milk products imported into the United Kingdom in 1938 is estimated at approximately 2,870 million gallons. The production of milk (exclusive of that fed to livestock) in the United Kingdom for the year June, 1937, to May, 1938, is estimated at approximately 1,570 million gallons.

Rear-Admiral Beamish

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the unsatisfactory situation which has arisen with regard to the stability of the market for condensed milk and milk powder in this country as a result of the failure of the Dominions and Dutch importers to conform to prices fixed by home manufacturers; and whether, in view of the urgent necessity for expanding home milk production, and enabling the home manufacturers to be in a position to provide adequate returns to milk producers, he will take early steps to bring forward the Milk Products Marketing Scheme which passed the inquiry stage some 18 months ago?

Sir R. Dorman-Smith

I am aware of the unsatisfactory position with regard to the market for condensed milk and milk powder mentioned in the first part of the question. As regards the second part, the draft Milk Products Marketing Scheme was held in abeyance pending consideration by Parliament of the Milk Industry Bill. In view, however, of the recent withdrawal of the Bill my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I now propose to proceed with the draft scheme.

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