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Milk Production

Volume 440: debated on Wednesday 16 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Food the gallonage of milk produced in May and June this year, compared with the same period last year; and the proportions used for manufacturing purposes.

Sales of milk off farms in the United Kingdom in May and June, 1947. are estimated to have been 305 million gallons, compared with 308 million gallons during the corresponding period in 1946. About 20 per cent. of the milk was used for manufacture in 1947 and 22 per cent. in 1946.

In view of that information, why was it necessary to impose such an early cut in the ordinary consumers' ration of fresh milk?

Because it was quite impossible for us to anticipate the weather conditions in the winter, and the hon. Gentleman knows that we attribute the drop to the cold weather.

Will the Minister tell the House whether any of this milk has been sent to chocolate manufacturers either for export purposes or for home consumption, and whether any of the milk has been used in a different way, including drying and processing, also to be sent abroad?

Certainly, some of the milk has been used for milk powder, for butter, cheese and condensed milk.

The hon. Gentleman should know that it is milk powder that goes into chocolate.

Is the Minister aware of the very great indignation on the part of many housewives in the West of Scotland who suffer cuts in milk while at the same time they see Italian ice-cream shops well supplied with milk for the making of ice-cream?

I can assure the hon. Member I have never failed yet. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] We believe the ex-trader should be given allocations in order to carry on the trade he had before the war.

51 and 52.

asked the Minister of Food (1) if he will give an assurance that wheat imports from the dollar areas will be maintained at the maximum available irrespective of the quantities obtained from soft currency areas, in order that bread rationing may be removed at the earliest possible date;

(2) if he is yet in a position to state the likely effect of this year's harvest in the northern hemisphere on food rationing in this country.

Our aim will be to get as much wheat as possible from any source. It is too early as yet to reach any conclusions about the harvests in the northern hemisphere or about the possibility of removing bread rationing.

Does my hon. Friend still regard the removal of bread rationing as the highest food priority in her Department?

The hon. Member must realise that there are carbo-hydrates, proteins and fats to consider, and I think perhaps if I were asked as a doctor what the highest priority was, I should say fats.