HC Deb 26 February 1903 vol 118 c917
MR. D. A. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydvil)

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that the issue of the monthly Trade and Navigation Returns for January, and printed on 7th February, was exhausted by the 9th, and that the public were not able to obtain further copies until about the 20th instant; if he can say how many copies were printed at the first issue, and whether the number was limited owing to no order having been made by the House of Commons for their printing; and, seeing the pressure to which Customs officials are put in getting these Returns out with regularity on the 7th of the month following that to which they relate, will he take steps to provide that in future they are fully available to the public on that date, whether or not Parliament is in session.

(Answered by Mr. Gerald Balfour.) I am informed that, owing to an unusual demand for the January issue of the monthly Accounts of Trade and Navigation of the United Kingdom, the stock was exhausted on the 9th instant: that a further supply was available by mid-day on the 10th, and that this in turn was exhausted on or about the 17th. A further supply was available on the 19th instant, which is not yet exhausted. The number at first issued seems to have been in accordance with the usual practice when no order to print has been made by the House, but I will take steps to ensure that a sufficient number of these Accounts shall always be available in future, whether Parliament is sitting or not.