§ MR. W. J. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he has made inquiries with regard to the delivery of Blue-books to the Provincial Press; and, if so, whether he is in a position to state what arrangements are to be made in order that Blue-books may be delivered to the Provincial Press at the same time as to the London Press?
I have made full inquiry into this Question, and I find that Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode, who are the Government salesmen, supply Blue-books on subscription to nearly all the principal newspapers published both in London and the Provinces. I shall be glad to show my hon. Friend a list of them. In distributing the Blue-books no preference whatever is shown to London papers. The relative distance from the one distributing centre of course causes the delivery at some offices to be slightly later than at others—but this tells decidedly in favour of the Provincial Press whose offices are mostly in Fleet Street. The last call of one of the distributors, for instance, is at The Morning Post and of another at The Times. To secure early delivery to The Manchester Guardian, whose office is far away, it is made the first call of a messenger who serves the Clubs. Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode state that the complaint probably arises from the action of some Government Departments which distribute copies of Blue-books to a certain section of the Press before stock has been sent to them as publishers for distribution or sale.