To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect of the implementation of the revised welfare milk scheme; and if he will make a statement.
The Department has kept the effects of the amendments to the welfare milk reimbursement scheme under constant review since their implementation in January. My noble Friend Baroness Hooper has been in correspondence with the main organisations in the dairy and retail trade and has met representatives of the milk marketing boards and the Dairy Trade Federation—DTF. Departmental officials have also had a number of meetings with the DTF branches of the National Dairymen's Association and other interested bodies.Arrangements to share the cost of discounted reimbursement prices are already in operation between most processors and distributors. Similar arrangements between processors and producers have yet to be agreed between the Dairy Trade Federations and the milk marketing boards. The boards have indicated that the effect of the Welfare Food (Amendment) Regulations January 1990, can be taken into account under the established joint committee procedure for negotiating changes in the board's selling price.Most recently, the Dairy Trade Federation made formal proposals to the Department for future discounted reimbursement arrangements for welfare milk supplies. We have now authorised negotiations to proceed on the basis of these proposals. The first meeting took place this week.