§ 42. Mr. D. Howell
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware of the concern in Birmingham and the Midlands at the prevailing high cost of butter and cheese; what are the causes of recent successive increases in the prices of these commodities; and what steps he intends taking, by price control or otherwise, to keep the cost of these essential foodstuffs within reasonable bounds.
§ Mr. John Hare
The rise in the price of butter is due to high consumption in the United Kingdom at a time when supplies from some countries are limited as a consequence of reduced milk output and the increased domestic consumption of butter in those countries. But another important reason is the arrangements which were made to help New Zealand. The rise in the price of cheese is due to the lower level of supplies following a less favourable season for milk production. The increase in the quota for imports from North America should steady the price.
§ 43. Mr. Dodds
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement in respect to the decline in milk production and its effect on the availability of home-produced cheese; and what are the future prospects for supplies of Cheddar, Cheshire, Caerphilly, and Lancashire cheeses.
§ Mr. John Hare
Sales of milk off farms in England and Wales have fallen by just over 1 per cent. this year as compared with 1957. Liquid milk consumption has increased by about 1 per cent. In consequence, cheese production is about 10 per cent. less. The Milk Marketing Board 133W is doing its best to maintain the supply of traditional varieties of home-produced cheese from the reduced amount of milk available for manufacture.