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Milk Marketing

Volume 345: debated on Monday 20 March 1939

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35.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that E. Hodson, a small farmer of Fish lake, near Doncaster, has, since 1934, signed every form, supplied all the information asked for, informed the inspectors of the Milk Marketing Board at least twice each year of his activities, from time to time has sought advice and guidance from the inspectors to ensure compliance with the wishes of the board, but has now been find £250 for evasions in the years 1935 and each successive year; and will he refer the details of this case to the committee inquiring into the question of fines and penalties?

Since the producer concerned in this case has exercised his right to refer the matter of the penalty to arbitration, it would, I feel, be proper to regard the matter as sub judice for the present.

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman comply with the request in the latter part of the question, that is, to submit the details of this case to the committee dealing with fines and penalties?

I doubt whether the committee could now look into it, because they have almost completed their report, which I am expecting in a very short time.

Will the right hon. and gallant Gentleman undertake to inform the Milk Marketing Board that this gross imposition on a small farmer, retrospective for four years, is the kind of thing which will bring the Milk Marketing Board into bad odour all over the country?

I have no doubt that they will take notice of the hon. Member's remarks.

Is it not a monstrous thing for the Milk Marketing Board to be the judge in its own court? Why are not these men allowed a right of appeal to the ordinary courts of law?

36.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the Milk Marketing Board is demanding and exacting levies on producer-retailers of milk and using these levies, or part thereof, to make up the standard price to those who are not producer-retailers; and what is the amount of the levy per gallon?

Under the Milk Marketing Scheme registered producers in England and Wales are required to pay contributions to the board's fund in respect of milk produced and sold by them by retail or semi-retail; these contributions, which are credited to the appropriate regional pools, represent the producer-retailers' share of the cost, inter alia, of administering the scheme, of the accredited bonus, and of the loss falling upon all producers on account of the sale of milk for manufacture. The reply to the second part of the question contains a tabular statement, and with my hon. Friend's permission I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

:Why does not the right hon. Gentleman answer the question, whether some of this levy is being used to give to other milk producers? It is a monstrous thing to take one man's earnings and hand them to another. I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman this definite question. Is it not a fact that in a case which was taken to the House of Lords it was clearly decided that it was grossly illegal to take the earnings of one man and give them to another? There is not a word about this in the answer.

Following is the statement:

Rates of the contributions payable by producer-retailers.
Description of Milk.Rate per gallon.
Category I—Tuberculin Tested Milk⅜d.
Category II—Accredited Milk⅝d.
Category III—Milk other than milk in Categories I, II and V1⅝d.
Category V—Accredited Milk produced from an Attested Herd⅜d.

NOTE.

1. The above rates are reduced by ¼d. per gallon if payment is made together with payment of all arrears of contributions (if any) within 14 days after the relevant accounting day.

2. The rates are increased by ½d. pergallon on all retail or semi-retail sales of a producer who sells any milk by wholesale (except on contracts carrying a level delivery premium).