Protein Deposit and Private Storage Aid

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th April 1976.

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Photo of Mr Francis Pym Mr Francis Pym , Cambridgeshire 12:00 am, 12th April 1976

Let the shouting match go on, if those involved wish.

The Council of Ministers' Regulations were not all passed until 31st March, only one day before the scheme was supposed to be in full operation. Nevertheless, deposits were paid as required from the middle of March, but even today they cannot be redeemed. I understand that no skimmed milk powder has yet been denatured and the licensing of premises has not yet taken place. Will the Minister who winds up the debate confirm that in any case the plant capacity to denature could cope with no more than 20,000 tons in six months if it worked at full capacity? That is only half the total that we are to try to absorb. If that is true, it means that half the proposed tonnage would have to be incorporated directly.

There is another technical aspect. Representatives of the poultry producers —the British Poultry Federation and the poultry section of the National Farmers' Union—have told me today that the stipulations in Part 2 of Annex 1 of Regulation 753/76, dated 31st March, make the compound unsuitable for poultry meat production, so that it cannot be used for poultry in that form. I am further advised that very few experiments have been undertaken about the levels of skimmed milk powder in feeding stuffs and what their effect will be. That is another technical complication. There is also the problem of potential dampness and the risk of a mix of feed turning into a silo of porridge. It may be cheaper in the end not to take the 50p differential, to forgo the premium and not to incorporate the powder at all.

My final reason is that the scheme will not dispose of the existing surplus. What is the evidence that the mountain will not grow again? The way that the price review was set for the milk sector brings no disincentive for continuing the surplus across the Channel.