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Dairy Trade Federation

Volume 982: debated on Thursday 17 April 1980

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to meet the president of the Dairy Trade Federation.

I hope to meet the president of the Dairy Trade Federation on 30 April.

Will my right hon. Friend accept my congratulations on his excellent speech at the opening of the conference of the Food Manufacturers' Federation this morning? What consultations will my right hon. Friend have with the president of the Dairy Trade Federation about the Binder Hamlyn report? Has my right hon. Friend consulted the NFU, the Milk Marketing Board and consumer organisations about the report? What steps do the Government intend to take.

The Binder Hamlyn report has been sent to all interested parties, including consumer organisations, the Dairy Trade Federation and the NFU, and we have asked for views. As my hon. Friend will know, a number of areas of major importance to consumers and the dairy trade were not looked into fully by Binder Hamlyn because of the time scale. I have asked Binder Hamlyn to look into those factors. All interested parties will be consulted before decisions are made.

When the Secretary of State next meets the president of the federation will he inform him of the contents of any reply sent to the Commission concerning health regulations relating to milk? What is the time table envisaged for the pending EEC Court case on the matter?

I shall check on the projected time table, and if there is any firm advice I shall let the hon. Gentleman know. I am happy to share the views that we expressed to the Court with the federation.

When my right hon. Friend meets the president of the Dairy Trade Federation will he assure him that he will stick to his guns and not allow British dairy farmers to be completely scuppered through outrageous discrimination against them in the proposed co-responsibility levy contributions?

We made it clear to the Council of Ministers and the Commission that any levy on milk which discriminated against the British herd would not be acceptable to us.

When the Secretary of State meets the president of the federation will he explain to him and to all organis- ations interested in the production and consumption of milk why his response to the Milk Marketing Board's proposal last September for the scheme to provide milk for children was dilatory, disappointing and disgraceful?

It was not dilatory or disappointing, and it was certainly not disgraceful. The Milk Marketing Board would not share the hon. Gentleman's views. At present it is having discussions in the hope of preparing a scheme that will be workable and acceptable.