HC Deb 10 September 1941 vol 374 cc190-1W
Sir P. Hurd

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that many dairy farmers find the prices fixed for liquid milk insufficient to meet increased costs of production; and whether he will issue a statement of account to show how these prices have been arrived at?

Major Lloyd George

The price for liquid milk payable to producers during each of the twelve months from April, 1941, to March, 1942, inclusive, provides for a guaranteed increase over the price per gallon received by producers in the corresponding month of the milk contract year October, 1938-Septembor, 1939, inclusive. The increases were considered sufficient to cover the increased costs of production and to provide, in addition, an incentive to producers to maintain the maximum output during the winter period when milk is most needed. They were fixed by my Noble Friend after consultation with the Agricultural Departments and with the Milk Marketing Boards and National Farmers' Unions. It was agreed that if at the end of the summer or the winter six months' period the producers claimed, through the agency of the Milk Marketing Boards and the National Farmers' Union, that the average increase in costs of production in the respective period of six months over the costs in the corresponding period of the basic year 1938–39, exceeded the average increase in producers' returns as compared with the same basic period, prices for the half- year in question would be reviewed and any necessary retrospective adjustment made.

Sir G. Jeffreys

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware of the confusion and dissatisfaction caused by the difference between the regional price and the price received by the farmer for milk; and whether steps can be taken to fix a national price for milk at the farm and abolish the regional prices?

Major Lloyd George

Yes, Sir; I am aware that there has been some confusion on this subject. The price received by the milk producer is guaranteed by His Majesty's Government and no longer bears any relation to the regional price. A full explanation of the present system of price fixing has been supplied to every milk producer in the July issue of the official organ of the Milk Marketing Board. The answer to the second part of the Question is in the negative.