HC Deb 16 April 1981 vol 3 cc228-9W
Mr. John Mackay

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what decisions he has reached on price controls for liquid milk in Scotland in the light of the recommendations by the independent accountants, Binder Hamlyn.

Mr. Younger

As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has indicated, the Government have concluded, in the light of the Binder Hamlyn reports, that the present arrangements for distribution costings and control should continue to apply broadly as at present in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In Scotland, sales of milk to domestic consumers are split almost equally between doorstep deliveries and sales through shops, with doorstep delivery costs being significantly greater than costs incurred in selling through shops. In these circumstances, inclusion of wholesale sales in the milk distribution costings system—one of the main Binder Hamlyn recommendations—linked with a statutory maximum retail price to the consumer, would not be in the best interests of either consumers or distributors in Scotland. Consequently, we have decided that, in Scotland, the point of price control for packaged milk is to be fixed where distribution to the doorstep and to shops diverges, namely, the point of dispatch from the processing dairy or distribution depot, instead of at the point of retail sale to the consumer.

Consultations will be proceeding with the dairy trade on how best to implement this decision.

Meantime I propose no change in the maximum prices set for milk in Scotland.