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Ministry Of Food

Volume 529: debated on Monday 21 June 1954

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Sausages (Meat Content)


asked the Minister of Food if he will make a statement following his consultations with the trade on the problem of sausage content: and what proposals he has to make for protecting the public in this respect.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. J. Rodgers) on 15th June.

Since I do not know what that answer was, might I ask the hon. Gentleman whether it is a fact that representatives of the proprietary brands of sausages, the Grocers' Federation and the Co-operative movement came down firmly in favour of the reimposition of the meat content standard as it used to be?

Two views on the subject were expressed, and in respect of one of those views I have no reason to dissent from what the hon. Member has said, but I suggest that he studies the statement in full.

Milk (Price)


asked the Minister of Food what persons or organisations outside his Department he consulted before fixing the retail price of milk; the present price; and if he will take off all controls and allow the law of supply and demand to operate freely.

The present maximum price of milk is 6d. per pint. The views of the trade were well known, and no special consultation was necessary when this price was fixed. With so large a consumer subsidy involved price controls are necessary.

Does not the Minister know, and will he not proclaim, that an attempt to overcome the law of supply and demand must end in disaster? Will he ensure that his policy does not attempt the impossible, and will he tell the trade so?

I will not comment on my hon. Friend's generalities, but the removal of price control would result in a substantial increase in the price of milk.


asked the Minister of Food whether he will revoke the Milk (Great Britain) Order, 1954, in order to avoid an increase in the price of milk on 1st August.

Will the hon. Gentleman look at this matter again and consult the Milk Marketing Board about it, because it has expressed its view? Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that it would create universal satisfaction if the Government refrained from increasing the price of milk in August?

I am aware of the views of the Chairman of the Milk Marketing Board, but I would remind the hon. Gentleman that not to proceed with the August change to 7d. per pint would result in an increase in the subsidy from the present level of £90 million per year to £120 million.

What is the average cost of production per pint throughout the year of the non-welfare milk, which my hon. Friend said is sold at 6d. per pint?

If my hon. Friend will put a Question on the Order Paper, I will give him the details.

Eggs (Subsidy)


asked the Minister of Food the current weekly rate of the subsidy on eggs for the latest available date; and the amount of the subsidy so far incurred during the present financial year.

For the week ended 19th June about £600,000: for the financial year to date £10.5 million.

Re-Commissioned Mills (Future)


asked the Minister of Food whether he will make a statement on the future of Re-Commissioned Mills Limited.

In the crop year 1954–55, Re-Commissioned Mills Ltd will provide a drying and storage service for wheat and coarse grain at commercial rates. The long-term policy is still being considered.

In view of the importance of this service, will the Parliamentary Secretary expedite consideration of the long-term policy?

I realise the importance of an early decision, but many interests are involved and consultations are still proceeding.

Imported Butter (Prices)


asked the Minister of Food what prices he has agreed to pay for butter under existing bulk-purchase agreements with New Zealand, Australia and Denmark, respectively.

Three hundred and twenty-six shillings, 326s., and 345s. per cwt. f.o.b. respectively for the contract year 1953–54.

Will the Minister give the figures in shillings per lb., so that the housewives know what he is talking about. Will he also explain what is happening to the difference between the price that he is paying and the very much higher price—about 4s. per lb.—which the housewives have to pay?

My right hon. and gallant Friend has made clear the policy of following the market price. If that were not done, considerable profits might go to people who do not deserve them.