HC Deb 03 February 1984 vol 53 c385W
Mr. Phillip Oppenheim

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has completed the autumn review of liquid milk prices.

Mr. Jopling

I have now completed my review of liquid milk prices in consultation with my colleagues.

At the same time we have concluded that, with the opening of our market to competition from imports of milk, there is no longer the same case for a system of price controls to protect the consumer. With my colleagues in Northern Ireland and Wales, I shall be consulting interested parties with a view to de-controlling liquid milk prices by the end of 1985 at the latest. Price controls have already been phased out in Scotland.

In the meantime, I have taken a longer perspective than usual in making my price determinations because I want the industry to be able to face with confidence the period of adjustment following the admission of imports and I would not expect there to be a further retail price increase for a considerable time.

I have come to the following decisions:

  1. (i) the maximum retail price will be increased by one penny a pint to 22 pence a pint on 3 June 1984: this will be the first increase since November 1982 and represents an annual increase of only 3.1 per cent.;
  2. (ii) the maximum wholesale price will be increased with effect from the beginning of March by 0.58p a litre (0.54)ppl in London;
  3. (iii) the dairy trade's rate of profit for the milk costings year 1983–84 which started on 1 October 1983 will be increased from 0.9048p per litre to 0.9860p per litre. This results from the comparison with the rate of return on comparable groups of food manufacturing and retailing companies provided for under the Binder Hamlyn system.

Statutory instruments giving effect to these new maximum prices will be laid before Parliament in the normal way.