(1) The purposes for which general and special Orders with respect to milk and dairies, hereinafter referred to as Milk and Dairies Orders, may be made by the Local Government Board under Section thirty-four of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1878, as amended by the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1886, shall include the following purposes:—
(2) A Milk and Dairies Order with respect to the inspection of cattle in a dairy may authorise the person making the inspection to require any cow to be milked in his presence and to take samples of the milk, and to require that the milk from any particular teat shall be kept separate and separate samples thereof furnished.
(3) If any person is guilty of a contravention of or non-compliance with the provisions of any Milk and Dairies Order, he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.
(4) Milk and Dairies Orders shall be made by the Local Government Board with the concurrence of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, and shall have effect as if enacted in this Act.
(5) All Milk and Dairies Orders shall be laid before each House of Parliament as soon as may be after they are made; and if an Address is presented to His Majesty by either House of Parlimaent within the next subsequent forty days on which that House has sat next after the Order is laid before it praying that the Order may be annulled, it shall thenceforth be void, but without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done thereunder, or to the making of a new Order. If the Session of Parliament ends before such forty days as aforesaid have expired, the Order shall be laid before each House of Parliament at the commencement of the next Session as if it had not previously been laid.
The Rules Publication Act, 1893, shall apply to any such Order as if it was a statutory rule within the meaning of Section 1 of that Act.
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1) (a) to leave out the word "registration," and to insert instead thereof the word "listing."I understand that the right hon. Gentleman does not intend that an Order shall be made requiring a farm to be licensed. All that he intends to convey is that an Order may be made by the Local Government Board and the Board of Agriculture empowering local authorities to make a list of the dairies in their districts. That, I think, is a harmless thing to which nobody can object. If it was to be read as a licence it might be taken that unless a farm was on this register it should not be allowed to supply milk. The right hon. Gentleman tells me that that is not the case. I have not the slightest doubt that so long as he is President of the Local Government Board that that intention will be carried out. But the House has got to remember that we may have another President of the Local Government Board who may look at the Act of Parliament and take the meaning of the Act from the Act itself. The simplest way is to put into the Bill all it is intended the Bill shall do.
I beg to second the Amendment. When the Bill was in Committee I pointed out that registration necessarily implies some conditions precedent to such registration. If a list is intended the word "listing" should meet the case.
The purpose is to draw up a list by the local authorities so that the inspectors may know to which places they have to go. It is not intended to introduce any system of licences. We have inserted the word "all" before dairies so as to make it plain that all dairies are to be registered, and are entitled to be registered. The word "registration" is the word that appears now in the Order for the registration of dairymen—all these are registered though not the dairies—and it is desirable that in regard to the dairies and not the firms merely that own them, that this, too, should obtain. "Listing" is a term that does not appear in any Act of Parliament. The word "registration" appears constantly, and everyone knows what it means. It does not mean that it implies conditions, nor does it mean a system of licences, but in order to make the matter quite clear I will give the hon. Baronet a Parliamentary assurance that when we draw up our Regulations—and this is a matter that has to be dealt with by Regulation—it shall be made clear that the register is to be a register, and not a mere list for the purposes of the inspector.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), paragraph (a), to leave out the word "local" ["registration with local authorities"] and to insert instead thereof the word "sanitary."The effect of the Amendment is that the registration shall be made by the district councils rather than by the county councils. The district councils are already the sanitary authorities, and administer the local Dairies Orders, and the suggested arrangement would be the more convenient. In Clause 16 the Local Government Board have the power to say which authority shall register. They may name the district councils, but this Amendment would make it certain. The Amendment is one that I have been asked to bring forward by the Rural District Councils Association, and it is, I think, a very reasonable one. It is felt that these councils should be safeguarded, and that these powers should not be shared by the county councils
It is the intention that the sanitary authorities shall be as a rule the registering authority, and the only reason why I cannot accept the hon. Member's Amendment is that I am advised that in small counties such as Huntingdon there may be general agreement that one authority should exercise all these powers in those small areas, and that district councils might wish the county councils to take over the whole of the business with regard to the milk supply. That is why this discretion is allowed to the Local Government Board in this matter. It is intended that our regulations shall in any such unusual cases confer upon the district councils the powers they already have of being the registering authority.
Would the right hon. Gentleman say it shall be the district councils unless the Local Government Board otherwise order?
It comes to that as the Bill stands.
Will the right hon. Gentleman give me a Parliamentary assurance to that effect?
I have already said that is our intention.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move in paragraph (b) to leave out the word "employed" and to insert after the word "dairies" the words "who have access to milk or churns or other milt receptacles." The Clause would then read: "(b) the inspection by persons authorised by the local authority for the locality in which the dairy is situate of dairies and persons in or about dairies who have access to the milk or churns or other milk receptacles."
I should like to point out these words are extremely wide. As the paragraph stands it says "persons employed." The right hon. Gentleman proposes to substitute for the word "employed" the words "who have access to the milk or churns or other receptacles." Under that every person about the parish might be liable to inspection. Instead of limiting, these words extend the number of persons to be inspected. If he proposed to inspect other persons in the neighbourhood of the dairy who have access to the milk churns, etc., I should take another view.
The word "employed" was objected to by many hon. Members in the Committee on the ground that it might be difficult in its technical meaning, in that a small holder or other person who was working for himself would not come under the provisions of the Section as he ought to do.
Question, "That the word 'employed' stand part of the Clause," put, and negatived.
Words "who have access to the milk or churns or other milk receptacles," there inserted.
I beg to move, in paragraph (e), to leave out the word "cooling."The Sub-section would then read "the regulations for the conveyance, and the distribution of the milk intended for sale," etc. I want to leave out the word "cooling" because in my district all the farmers have cooling apparatus. If this word is left in it will be within the power of the Board of Trade to make regulations allowing the local authorities to inspect the cooling apparatus, and to make a regulation that Jones' cooling apparatus is not one they approve of, and that Smith's apparatus must be put in. That might put the farmers to a very great expense in taking out the apparatus he has got in use in order to put in another. It might be possible that in the case of change in the local authority, or a new medical officer, they might say "you have put in Smith's cooling apparatus. I like Brown's, and therefore you must take Smith's out and put in Brown's." If these words are left in we shall be doing something which will cause great inconvenience to the farmers without securing a better or purer supply of milk. It is absolutely necessary a farmer, on anything like a large scale, who sends his milk any distance from the farm must cool it because, if he does not, the milk will be spoiled when it arrives at its destination, and the buyer will not have it. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will meet me by leaving out those words.
I beg to second the Amendment.
All those whom I have consulted in reference to this Bill attach much importance to the cooling. I hear on all hands that there are few things more important with a view to preventing bateriological infection in milk than to secure an efficient cooling before it leaves the farm. The hon. Baronet (Sir H. Banbury) comes from a district where the milk is already cooled, but I am afraid that that is not so over a considerable part of the country, and a good deal of milk is sent away which ought to be cooled if it is not to give rise to danger to health. All these regulations require the concurrence of the Board of Agriculture, and I am sure they would not agree to any regulations for the cooling of milk oppressive to farmers and the agricultural industry. If they did so the regulations have to come before this House and hon. Members could pass an Address to alter them. Not only that, but the House of Lords has to consider this matter, and I am sure the hon. Baronet can safely leave his case in the hands of the other House if not in mine. If he omits these words we shall have no power of any sort to make regulations, no matter how reasonable or necessary they may be to secure proper cooling.
I admit that I have great confidence in the other House, but I do not know that I have great confidence in this House discussing a question of this sort after eleven o'clock at night. I will accept the right hon. Gentleman's assurance that all he desires to do is to insist that milk shall be cooled and not make particular regulations as to the machinery by which it is cooled, and I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I beg to move in paragraph (f), after the word "identification," to insert the words "and the sealing or closing."We know, as the result of some bitter experience, that a large portion of the impurities of milk gets into the milk in transit between the premises of the producer and the premises of the salesman in the town, and there is no uniform procedure on the various railways in connection with the sealing or closing of churns. The result is that under this Bill there will be very great danger of the farmer or other milk producer being charged with certain penalties or even of having the supply of his milk stopped in consequence of impurities getting into the milk at a railway terminus over which he has no control whatever. There is no uniformity of procedure. On some railways churns are allowed to be closed, and on others they are not. I want to put it into the power of the Local Government Board in case of necessity to make an Order dealing with this matter and of so ensuring against the farmer or other milk producer being unfairly penalised in respect of impurities for which he is not responsible.
I beg to second the Amendment.This is really one of the most important parts of the whole Bill. I have in my hand an account of the prosecutions at the London Sessions revealing the practice of borrowing from other churns. It was clearly put forward that at Paddington Station milk was borrowed from one churn and put into another. If that sort of thing is going on, you will be totally unable to follow the milk from the producer to the consumer. I also gave a case the other day at Liverpool Street Station. I think that those two cases clearly show that we must have the Amendment moved.
I have much pleasure in accepting this Amendment.
I am rather sorry the right hon. Gentleman has done that, because the result might be that my hon. Friend might desire to send something up from Gloucestershire, or wherever it is that he lives, to London, and the cheapest way would be to put it in a churn. That is the reason why the railway companies have objected to the sealing. They did not know whether advantage might not be taken of their kindness to send in a churn something which would cost much more to send in another way. I am rather surprised that my hon. Friend should have seconded the Amendment, in view of the fact that he is a railway director and must know that might occur. If the right hon. Gentleman will make regulations to prevent fraud on the railway companies, then I have no objection, but I am rather sorry that he should have accepted it in such a hurry.
Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.
I beg to move to leave out paragraph (g).This paragraph is absolutely unnecessary, and it will do much to curtail the milk supply. It was not in the Bill when it was before the House for Second Beading. The Bill is, I think, wisely drawn with the object of providing clean and pure milk. Less than that we ought not to be content with and more than that we do not require. Therefore I think it both unnecessary and unwise, after demanding that the milk shall be clean and pure, to introduce this paragraph which makes it possible for any one to obtain a certificate. It is unjust to give any section of milk producers a privileged position. We are requiring milk producers generally to produce a clean and pure article. I have met many dairymen who, although they hold that the Bill is somewhat drastic, seeing that they have always done their best to supply the public with a clean and pure article, yet recognising there is a feeling that greater precautions ought to be taken, are ready to carry out the provisions of the Bill. But having conformed to the requirements therein laid down, they object to any Government label being given to any part or any Section of the milk which may be produced. The production of the milk at the present time is somewhat unprofitable owing to the increased and increasing cost of labour for milking, the great expense of replenishing herds when cattle the from disease, and the growing cost of feeding stuffs. Many people have for these reasons already had to give up cow-keeping, and if we introduce in this Bill unnecessary and harassing conditions I venture to say they will result in still further diminishing the milk supply of this country, which would be a calamity to the poorer classes of the people. I have had a deputation of dairy keepers who have urged me to resist to the utmost the introduction of this preferential treatment. Only last Saturday I received a deputation of Essex farmers who asked me to tell the House that they, as large milk producers, were strongly opposed to this preferential treatment being given to any section of those engaged in the industry. They are quite willing to conform to the requirements of the Bill and to supply clean and pure milk, but they object to any differentiation, such as this paragraph would allow, being introduced. It would afford an opportunity to wealthy cow-keepers to have a special examination and secure a special milk certificate after a special veterinary inspection, and that would give them an established position which would discount or reduce the value of other milk supplies not certified in the same way. Having called upon all dairymen to produce clean and pure milk it must be detrimental to their interest and unjust if not indeed a breach of faith to the dairymen and to those of us who have taken pains to persuade the dairymen in our Constituencies that it is necessary they should conform to the provisions of this Bill, if, when they have agreed to do so, you introduce, as was done in Committee, this preferential treatment, which will act to the advantage of wealthy cow-keepers by enabling them to produce certain certificates that will ensure higher prices for their milk. I venture to say it is the duty of this House to do all it can to secure a pure and clean supply of milk for all people, rich and poor alike, and not to establish a point at which certain certificates will be obtainable which will enable the holders thereof to charge higher prices, to the detriment of the general body of milk producers. I hope the House will hesitate before they inflict such an injustice on the milk producers of this country. They are rendering a great public service, and it would be calamitous if by any vexatious preferential treatment under this Bill men were deterred from carrying on that industry. We should apply our endeavours to seeing that all milk is pure and clean, that poor and rich alike have an article which is above suspicion, and that no preference is given to any part of that pure and clean supply.
I beg to second the Amendment.The Bill in its original form goes quite far enough without this paragraph. It is quite sufficient to endeavour to secure a uniform supply of clean milk, so far as that is possible. It is not necessary to draw a differentiation between different classes of milk in a Bill of this kind. There is no doubt that when the regulations which are to be issued by the Local Government Board are put into working order they will arouse quite enough resentment among dairy-keepers throughout the country without any addition of this kind to the Bill. I know that some o£ my hon. Friends desire to see various classifications of milk. I presume they wish to have certified milk, pure milk and milk, just as you have new laid eggs, fresh eggs and eggs. That might be left to private enterprise. There are many farmers who send sealed bottles of milk from their dairies up to London. They are able to do that of their own initiative and to charge rich customers an additional price for that class of milk. It is quite sufficient for the House to leave that sort of thing to private enterprise, and I hope that they will therefore reject this paragraph.
I sincerely trust that the House will keep this paragraph in the Bill. It is one of the most important provisions in the Bill. I cannot quite make out why my hon. Friends wish to take it out. It must be due to a misunderstanding. I cannot understand hon. Members representing farmers and dairymen or agricultural interests wishing to take the paragraph out of the Bill. There are some provisions in the Bill which act as a restraint, there are many penalties contained in the Bill, there are many provisions which harass the farmer or dairyman which are compulsory. This proposal is purely optional. It is in the nature of a reward to the dairyman or fanner who goes out of his way to produce a particularly clean milk. It does not interfere with the Bill as it stands. The Mover of the Amendment said he wanted all milk to be pure and good. I have read my hon. Friend's speeches on milk. I know that he agrees with me that milkers should have clean and dry hands, that the herd should be tested and that the herd should be free from tuberculosis. He does not want to have dirty in the milk. He wants the flanks and udders of the cow to be clean. I am sure he will agree that we should encourage those things, but we cannot do it by legislation. You cannot by Act of Parliament say that all milkers are to have clean and dry hands. You can only secure it by rewarding those farmers and dairymen who take special and peculiar care to see that their milkers have clean and dry hands, that the udders and flanks are clean, and so forth. You can only do this in some such way as is proposed in this paragraph, by protecting the producers of the milk which we call certified milk. At present there is nothing to prevent the milk seller taking a churn of milk, dividing it into two samples and selling it under two different names.There can be nothing worse for the milk trade than the knowledge that a man can take a churn of the same milk and sell some as ordinary milk, and some as invalids', children's, certified or guaranteed milk. There can be nothing more injurious to the milk trade than the knowledge of this. There is a great demand for this sort of certified or children's or invalids' milk, whichever you choose to call it. The right hon. Gentleman some months ago said such milk was now sold in London, but that there was no guarantee that the purchaser was getting the article which he thought he was buying. That is to say, at present it is quite easy for an unscrupulous dealer to defraud the public. The proposal really is to provide infants' or invalids' milk for which there is a demand. It is done in Denmark, and in the United States of America. I have an extract published by a Government Department in the United States of America, showing that the influence of certified milk in reducing mortality among infants and children is beyond estimation, and another that the result of giving certified milk to infants and children, as shown in the decrease in the death-rate, is a matter of common knowledge. I could bring forward much more evidence to the same effect. If this certified, guaranteed or children's milk really has the effect of reducing the infantile mortality, if it has been tried and this is found to be the case, how could any hon. Member suggest that it could be taken out of this Bill? There is no compulsion. No one is compelled to produce, sell or buy certified milk. It is entirely optional. This proposal was put down in Committee upstairs, and it had the names of Members representing all parties. It was backed by hon. Members on this side, by hon. Members representing the agricultural interest, by Liberals, and by Members of the Labour party. It represented all interests, and it was passed by the Committee unanimously, and I sincerely trust the House will keep it in the Bill.
The hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Spear) said this provision of the Bill introduced unnecessary and harassing conditions. This provision introduces no conditions at all which a man does not readily himself adopt. It does not require anyone to produce certified milk and it does not require any farmer to subject himself to any unusual conditions against his own will. We know that it will not be possible for many years to come to-secure that our herds shall all be free from tubercle and that all milk shall be absolutely cleanly. We will gradually work towards it. It cannot be done at once; but in the meantime, there are a certain number of farmers who produce milk who are willing to see that their herds shall be free from tubercle, and take the utmost precautions to secure that the milk shall be absolutely pure. It is necessary to-protect those farmers—to give them some terms which shall be a guarantee that they shall be protected by law, so that anyone else who comes into competition with them, and pretends to adopt the same precautions but really does not do so, shall be liable to penalty.That is the only purpose of this provision. It cannot be left to private enterprise, as the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Hicks Beach) suggested, because you cannot have a legal guarantee by merely leaving it to private enterprise. Private enterprise might produce a supply of good milk, but at any moment it is liable to competition of people who sell ordinary milk under the same name without having taken the precautions which their rivals have conscientiously adopted. Most important of all, perhaps, is it that if some farmers produce pure milk certified and get a high price for it and make a good profit, they will be an example to all the other farmers in neighbouring districts, and so gradually a high standard of milk production will spread throughout the country. This proposal was urged upon me by a very authoritative deputation introduced by Sir Thomas Barlow, and other scientists of distinction, but I was unwilling to put a provision in the Bill before ascertaining the feeling of the House. The matter was discussed in Committee, where there was an overwhelming body of opinion in favour of this proposal and no Division was taken against it, and I trust the House will retain it in the Bill.
If I thought the intention of this Sub-clause was really going to be an injury to the general body of milk producers, as is suggested by my hon. Friends, I should support them in advocating its withdrawal; but, frankly speaking, I do not think it is going to prejudice the position of the milk producers in the least. There are, as the right hon. Gentleman has pointed out, a certain number of milk producers who go in for the production of what one might almost call super-milk. There are a certain number of people who wish to use it. If the farmers tan get a higher price, and if the consumers are willing to pay a higher price, for the excessively good article, I do not see why they should not be allowed to do so. But I think there is a good deal in what the right hon. Gentleman has said, that it is now open to anybody to use the term "certified." If we are going to bring the whole of our milk production under these Regulations, I think that it is not unreasonable that the word "certified" should be restricted to those who conform to the Regulations and restrictions. On the whole, speaking for myself, I think the Sub-clause ought to be retained.
Although I am satisfied that the right hon. Gentleman would see that this Sub-section was administered reasonably, I have not that confidence in the Department for all time to feel satisfied that it would be safe to extend to them the powers contained herein. I think the powers are dangerous and should not be entrusted to a Department. If you get pure milk from healthy cows, clean and uncontaminated, I venture to say you have a first-class article, and if we could be sure that these Regulations were limited to that, and that alone, I do not know that there would be much objection to the Sub-clause; but I do not know to what extent it might be carried, and I do feel strongly that we have to bear in mind that the Department makes what Regulations they think proper, and if they make a standard of milk in the direction of a certain percentage of butterfats unobtainable by the ordinary farmer.I cannot see how you are to avoid casting a reproach upon a large number who have not the opportunity to produce milk of a standard such as might be set up. Now it is all very well to say you can have milk of various grades. The certified class of milk in the mind of everybody would rank above a class not certified, although the latter has all the qualities of first-class milk. I say that the good-class, respectable dairymen are those upon whom the dairy-farmers must rest to get a reasonable return for the efforts they put forward, and no respectable dairyman can afford to admit that he does not sell first-class milk. Therefore if first-class milk is to consist' of certified milk, he must turn to certified milk, and if the conditions of obtaining a certificate are to be such as I express a fear they might be, that would put out of court a large number of farmers who can produce a thoroughly good article but cannot come quite up to the standard that might be set, with the result that they would have to take a smaller price for their article or probably go out of the trade altogether. You want as much milk as ever you can get of a good high standard. I do not see how you can have it of higher value for the large mass of the people than the quality of which I have spoken, and you can only get it if you keep the largest possible number of farmers in the industry. But if you are going to pass a Clause of this sort you throw out a large number who cannot compete with people who have the opportunity, perhaps, of producing this certified milk, with the result that you get a less supply of the article you really want. I do not know how a continuous certificate is to operate. Let the milk be as good as it will to-day, it may be bad to-morrow or the day after, and, if you are going to certify milk, it would have to be applied to every day's milk so as to ensure that you get what you wish. I venture to say with some knowledge of those carrying on the business that it is impossible for a farmer to conform to any regular standard if he has to conform to every-day conditions. You may have a first-rate herd of dairy cows; you may fix your standard what you like—you fix it perhaps at 3½ per cent. of butter-fat; you can get that standard in the evening when it may be impossible to get it in the morning. In producing this milk for market you cannot avoid the diversity of standard that now obtains everywhere. You cannot avoid it, because your cows have to be milked at greatly varying periods, with the result that the morning's milk is below standard, and the evening's milk above standard. I believe a learned Judge on the Bench said that sort of thing ought to be altered and could be altered. I wish that theorist on this question had to tackle the conditions under which milk is produced. He will find from the labour point of view alone that the farmer cannot carry on the trade and produce the kind of milk that might be wanted. At present he has to set to work at 4.30 in the morning. He cannot possibly keep the men all day, with the result that to carry on his operations he has to have a period of some thirteen or fourteen hours between one milking and the other, nine hours in one case and thirteen or fourteen in the other. That being so, it is not possible for him to conform to the conditions that might be laid down. He has plenty now to worry him in carrying on the business as well as he does, and I think that if this Clause stands it will be a discouragement to a large number of people who really support this Bill and desire to see it become law but do not desire to see anything in it which would make it more difficult for the farmer to continue in the trade and make a reasonable profit. We want more and more farmers to come into the trade. My hon. Friend (Sir John Spear) said this Clause was not in the Bill when it was introduced. It is therefore no affront to the Government to ask them to withdraw it or to vote against it, and if he goes to a Division I shall support him.
The right hon. Gentleman (the President of the Local Government Board) has referred to what took place in the Committee upstairs when we were discussing the Amendment then proposed by the hon. Member for Plymouth (Mr. Astor). The impression conveyed by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, I think, was that this Clause as it stands was exactly as it was then proposed, and was carried unanimously. We were told that a prolonged discussion took place in connection with this question. It was a long discussion, and there was a very strong expression of opinion that it was a doubtful procedure that was being put into the Bill, and if you will look at the proceedings of the Committee you will find that it was not put into the Bill until concessions were made to those who were doubtful about it. Considerable concessions were put into the Clause as it was originally proposed by the hon. Member for Plymouth.I think this is a question that should not be hurriedly swept to one side as some hon. Gentlemen seem to think. We all want milk of a high quality; but we were not satisfied to let the Clause go through until we had amended it in the Committee, and also until we got strong representations from the right hon. Gentleman (the President of the Local Government Board) that in any Order that was issued no distinction would be made which could be used as a trade mark by a big firm. It is no use concealing the facts from the House. There are many supplies of pure milk, but we all know there are big concerns who have advantages which the smaller milk producer cannot have, and they would be able to get a standardised article under the sanction of the Government which would virtually have a Government monopoly under the cover of the Government certificate. We all desire to prevent that, and I think after the discussion upstairs in Committee and the Amendments which were made that it is possible that the Clause might be improved at the present time if the right hon. Gentleman would give it his consideration and see that no designation of milk would pass into use which would not protect the smaller man against the great monopolies who have a large hand in and a heavy control over the milk supply of the metropolis and other large places, and who to a large extent have at their mercy the farmers who send the milk in. It is sent in to these large firms, and the farmer does not come for one moment into direct contact with the consumer. I think that is a serious thing, and I ask the House not to sweep it away as something which is not worthy of consideration.
I think the contention of the hon. Member for Berkshire (Mr. Gardner) as to the difficulty of keeping up a high standard is met by the insertion of the provision for continuous inspection in these cases. Anyone who expected to supply the certified milk would obviously have to be prepared to provide samples at frequent intervals to show that the standard was kept up. It is not, as has been said, a standard of butter-fat; I should imagine it would deal with the case of those people who wish to get milk only from herds that have been tested for tuberculosis, and whose milkers are clean, and milk supplied in bottle and bottled at the farm itself. Surely it is reasonable if people are prepared to pay for milk of that kind that there should be some means of ensuring that it is what it purports to be.Hon. Members have said it is necessary to get cheap milk and that this would make milk more expensive. I think it would have the opposite effect. If you do not have this certified milk you may have an agitation for milk all round the majority of consumers can afford to pay for. I think you can prevent that only by enabling milk to be produced to meet the two different classes of demand. The average producer cannot supply this higher standard, as the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Hicks Beach) has said. If he attempts to do so he is liable to competition on the part of those who want to take fraudulent advantage of the name. Take the case of bottled milk. People bottled milk, instead of 4d. per quart, sometimes Is. a quart. If you look through the window when the bottled milk is being delivered in the morning, you will often find that what these people are paying an extra 8d. per quart for, milk as bottled on the farm as they imagine it to be, it is really bottled at their very door, and is possibly infected by the lips of the man who delivers it as he licks the label which he puts on the bottle to say it is pure bottled milk.
As a representative of an agricultural constituency though not a member of the Committee may I be permitted to support the Amendment of the hon. Member for Tavistock (Sir John Spear). One of the results that would be bound to follow from the inclusion of this Clause would be a falling off in the milk supply, which is the very opposite to that which we want to get by this Milk Bill. Another point I would like to urge is that this was not originally in the Bill. We all know the suspicion with which the agricultural community looks upon all new proposals of this kind which result in the further inspection of their industry.It would be an unfortunate thing if this part of the Bill were left in, because, in my opinion, it does not really tend towards the general purposes of the Bill, and it may lead to difficulties in the administration of it when it is put into operation. It seems to me to give an unfair advantage to the big producer, because there is no doubt whatever he will be in a position to obtain these certificates and to obtain a higher price for milk, and these opportunities will not be open to the smaller producer. That is a consideration worth attending to. This is a general Bill to improve the standard of milk all over the country. Is it desirable in a Bill of this kind to set up two standards of milk—one for the poorer classes and the other for the richer classes—to have one standard of milk for the poorer classes and another standard of milk for the richer classes? What we want to do is to improve the general standard of milk all over the country, and if you make a distinction of this kind, you really defeat the broad and real objects of the Bill itself. Now, the hon. Member for Plymouth (Mr. Astor) said that this proposal was something in the shape of a reward for clean milk, for dairies carried on under the most favourable conditions possible. But, if he looks at it from the point of view of agriculturists, he will see it is not so much a reward for exceptional milk as that it would result in putting a slur on the milk which was not so certified, and for which farmers were not able to obtain these particular certificates. Then, the hon. Member went on to say—and I was rather surprised to hear it—that, in regard to all these matters you could not carry them through effectively by legislation. That is my opinion, but it seemed to me to be an argument against the proposal rather than in favour of it. As a matter of fact, those dairymen who do, under existing conditions, produce an exceptional class of milk are unable, in the ordinary commercial way, to demand an exceptional price for it. We all know that. I do not like this idea of a Government guarantee. I think it is open to many objections, and if it is introduced in respect of milk in this way, of course, further demands will be put forward for Government guarantees and Government certificates in all directions. I really think that it is a proposal which we ought to look at with very great suspicion. I think, also, that it is a very unworkable proposal. No hon. Member who has spoken in favour of it has given any clear idea, indeed, as to how these inspections should be carried out. One hon. Member said they were practically to be continuous inspections; that seems to me to be a quite unworkable proposal. Others said there should be periodical inspections. Well, as the hon. Member who last spoke pointed out, there are great elements of unfairness and injustice in periodical inspections taking place in the varying conditions that exist. Altogether, it seems to me to be a part of the Bill which would be very much better struck out, in the interests not only of the agricultural community, but of the general consumers of milk throughout the country.
I am asked to say, on behalf of the Agricultural Organisation Society, which contains, mainly, the small farmers rather than the large, that they hope that this House will retain this Clause. They have got now a large number of cooperative milk depots in various parts of the country, whose object largely is to maintain a high standard of the milk, and to secure that no milk which is not of a high standard passes out of those depots. They contend, and properly, in my opinion, that it is only fair that some preference should be given to such milk. The hon. Member for Tavistock opened his remarks by saying that it was not fair to put any section of milk producers in a privileged position. To that I entirely demur. If milk producers produce a better article, and attain some standard of purity for
Division No. 203.]
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Clough, William|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bigland, Alfred||Courthope, George Loyd|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Boland, John Plus||Crumley, Patrick|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Booth, Frederick Handel||Cullinan, John|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Bowden, G. R. Harland||Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Brace, William||Dawes, James Arthur|
|Astor, Waldorf||Brady, Patrick Joseph||Delany, William|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Bryce, J. Annan||Devlin, Joseph|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Doris, William|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Chancellor, Henry George||Duffy, William J.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Clancy, John Joseph||Du Pre, W. Baring|
that article, it is only fair that they should have a privileged position.
After all, what is milk? Is milk an article containing, say, a bare 3 per cent. of butter fat and 5,000,000 bacteria per cubic centimetre, say a salt-spoon; or is it an article containing 5 per cent. or more of butter fat, or only 7,000 bacteria per cubic centimetre? In one case, it is worth at least double what it is in the other, and if that is the case surely it is only fair that we should do, in this country, what is done, and done without difficulty, in Denmark and in the United States, to give some sort of a guarantee to such milk, after a periodic inspection, and to ensure that those who really desire to obtain good value for the money they pay for milk, do obtain what they ask for. In those countries, so far from doing any injustice to those who do not put certified milk on the market, it levels up the whole milk supply and enables the poorer part of the population to obtain much purer milk than they ever got before.
I should like just to explain that although I was a Member of the Committee, I was not there that day being called away to the funeral of a very near relative. I would say just this word. All the arguments of hon. Members against this Amendment seem to me to arise as if they thought that this Bill was going to be a failure. We take a higher standard than they do. We say that this House is responsible for seeing that all milk is clean and pure, and therefore, having supported a Bill which will accomplish that purpose, we do object, in the interests of the general producer, to any preferential treatment being given to the wealthy section of dairymen.
Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'term' ["of the term"], stand part of the Bill."
The House Divided: Ayes, 183; Noes, 52.
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Lardner, James C. R.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Falconer, James||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Ffrench, Peter||Lundon, Thomas||Reddy, Michael|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Lyell, Charles Henry||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Forster, Henry William||Lyttelton, Hon. J. C.||Kendall, Athelstan|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Maclean, Donald||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Glanville, Harold James||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Goldman, C. S.||McGhee, Richard||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Robinson, Sidney|
|Griffith, Rt. Hon. Ellis Jones||M'Laren, Hon. F. W. S. (Lines, Spalding)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Manfield, Harry||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Gulland, John William||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Hackett, John||Meagher, Michael||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Hall, Frederick (Yorks, Normanton)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Hancock, John George||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Millar, James Duncan||Sheehy, David|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Molloy, Michael||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Shortt, Edward|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Morgan, George Hay||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Muldoon, John||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Stanier, Beville|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Murphy, Martin J.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Nolan, Joseph||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Nuttall, Harry||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Hills, John Waller||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Hogge, James Myles||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Horne, E. (Surrey, Guildford)||O'Doherty, Philip||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hudson, Walter||O'Donnell, Thomas||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Dowd, John||Webb, H.|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||O'Malley, William||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|John, Edward Thomas||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||O'Shee, James John||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Joyce, Michael||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Kelly, Edward||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Kenyon, Barnet||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.
|King, Joseph||Pratt, J. W.||Geoffrey Howard and Captain Guest.|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Gibbs, G. A.||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gilmour, Captain John||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Goldsmith, Frank||Sandys, G. J.|
|Barnston, Harry||Greene, Walter Raymond||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Barrie, H. T.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Weston, Colonel J. W.|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Cassel, Felix||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Cautley, H. S.||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Mount, William Arthur||Wilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.||Wilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S. W.)|
|Currle, George W.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Denison-Pender, J. C.||Rowlands, James|
TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Rutherford, John (Lanes Darwen)||John Spear and Mr. Hicks Beach.|
Further Amendments made:
Leave out the word "term" ["of the term 'certified milk' "] and insert instead thereof the word "designation."—[ Mr. H. Samuel.]
Leave out the words "term or" ["term or designation"].—[ Mr H. Samuel.]
I beg to move to insert after paragraph (g)(h) The procedure to be followed in the bacteriological examination of milk and the methods to be employed for this purpose, together with such data as shall be necessary for the interpretation of results so obtained. I desire to give the Local Government Board further powers with regard to bacteriological examinations, and I have no doubt that if they have these powers they will immediately use them. The Act mentions frequently bacteriological examinations, and as there is nothing on which there is more difference of opinion and more trouble than bacteriological examinations it is necessary that the Local Government Board should lay down definite rules as regards the method by which these examinations should take place. The Board should say definitely whether all that is required is a microscopical examination; whether that is sufficient or whether inoculation of the animals is to be added; if so, how long the animal is to remain under observation; or if it is only to be a microscopical examination what method of straining ought to be used, and other details. Unless that is done there will be great divergence of opinion, and neither the purveyor nor the distributor will know exactly how to conduct examinations in order to agree with those of the examiners. It is equally necessary that it should be stated definitely what inference should be drawn from such results, because there again there are vast differences of opinion. It is usual for these examiners to use different methods, and unless a uniform method is employed all over the country, the distributor and purveyor will never know how far he is liable. It is very easy to formulate such Regulations. We have them in the United States. In the United States they are very strict about the purity of water, and the Association of Bacteriology has strict regulations and rules as to how bacteriological examination is to take place. There will be no harm in inserting this Clause containing the powers I wish to have given to the Board, and I trust the President will see no objection to inserting it in the Bll.
I beg to second the Amendment.
I am advised that it would not be practicable to prescribe by an Order of the Local Government Board what shall be the procedure to be followed in making bacteriological examinations of milk or the methods to be followed by the bacteriologists. It would be turning a text book on bacteriology into a Regulation, and my Department could not take that duty upon itself, and if it did, the bacteriologists throughout the country would regard it as an unwarranted interference with their professional functions.Clause 7 goes as far as we can in this respect. It is laid down that provision shall be made for such facilities for bacteriological or other examinations of milk as may be approved by the Board, that is to say, that the Board takes power to provide for a bacteriologist being appointed, to see that a man of repute and whose methods are recognised to be sound is employed for bacteriological examinations; but we cannot go as far as the hon. Gentleman desires, and if we did prescribe the methods we should have no means of enforcing them unless we had an officer of our own watching the bacteriologist conducting the examination. Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and negatived.
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), after the word "require" ["to require any cow to be milked"], to insert the words "at the usual time of milking."I wish to do that. I will not say to prevent harassing the farmer, but still to make the operation of this Act as easy as possible for him. I can easily understand that if an inspector comes in and makes the farmer go into his shed and turn out animals for inspection the animals disturbed will not be only those for examination but others in the shed might be disturbed. I do not expect the right hon. Gentleman to accept this Amendment, but if he would I should be glad. At any rate I move.
I beg to second the Amendment.
The words in the Bill follow precisely the Clause inserted in over 100 local Acts of Parliament, which, so far as we know, have given rise to no difficulty of any kind. Of course, as a rule a person would meet the convenience of the farmer, but, if it were made a statutory obligation, it might give rise to a controversy in particular cases which should be avoided. The words are not necessary, and might give rise, in our view, to difficulty, and be of no advantage. I should, however, be glad to accept the two following Amendments of the hon. Member, which would effect some verbal improvement in the Clause.
After what the right hon. Gentleman has said, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Further Amendments made:
In Sub-section (2), after the word "and" ["kept separate and separate examples"], insert the words "to take."
Leave out the word "furnished" ["separate samples thereof furnished"].—[ Mr. Gardner.]
Before we come to Clause 3, I should like to ask how far the Government really wish to go to-night? We have done our best to keep the Debate strictly business-like. We have been discussing this matter for two and a quarter hours, and have really made considerable progress. I understand it is not the wish or intention of the Government even to attempt to force the Bill through the House when all parties are doing their best to expedite the Bill. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will tell us how far he thinks we ought to go to-night.
I must ex press my acknowledgments to hon. Members opposite and in all quarters of the House for the manner in which they have endeavoured to expedite the proceedings to-night, and I should certainly not desire to carry the Bill further than hon. Members opposite would wish me to do. Perhaps we may take this one other Clause, in which, I think, there are hardly any points, and then move to report Progress.