asked the Minister of Food if he will make a detailed statement as to the extent to which the Control and Maximum Prices Order permits the addition of a reasonable delivery charge to the price of milk delivered in thinly-populated areas; and, in particular, whether such provision covers milk sold under the National Milk Scheme.
Yes, Sir. The position is as follows: The appropriate order says that no person may make an unreasonable charge in connection with the sale of milk. By implication, therefore, a reasonable charge may be made to cover exceptional costs incurred in the retail delivery of milk in thinly-populated areas, whether the milk is provided under the Welfare Foods Service or otherwise. The question of what constitutes a "reasonable charge" is one for interpretation by the courts.
Does that mean that the Minister is prepared to pay a higher charge for milk supplied under the National Milk Scheme in the rural areas?
It means that I could not possibly fix the charge for delivery for every district in the country; but it is open for the person concerned to fix his own charge, if it is a reasonable one and comes within the order.
Is the right hon. Gentleman prepared to consider paying a higher charge for the milk supplied under the National Milk Scheme?