§ Mr. Woodcock
To ask the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much cheese production is currently being lost through the non-availability of milk supplies ; and if he will review milk quotas in the light of the shortfall.
§ Mr. Donald Thompson
Although up to September this year some 3 per cent. more milk was used for cheese manufacture in England and Wales than a year earlier, I recognise that there were some difficulties during the seasonal trough this year in meeting the requirements of cheese producers. This is basically a marketing problem, not the result of quotas, and as such it is a matter for the528W industry. Nevertheless, we have discussed the question with the Milk Marketing Board for England and Wales which is fully aware of the problem and has sought to minimise it. Earlier this year the industry's joint committee agreed changes to the milk supply arrangements, and more recently the price structure has been adjusted with a view to ensure adequate supplies for cheese production.