§ 39. Major NEWMAN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether in arranging for the distribution of the imports of paper among paper users the Licensing Commission will ascertain any stocks of paper now held by newspaper firms and others, and regulate the distribution of such imports of paper as may be allowed accordingly?
An inquiry into the stocks of paper at present held in the United Kingdom is at present in progress; but the precise use to be made of the information so obtained will be determined when this is completed.
§ 40. Major NEWMAN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in prohibiting, except under licence, the importation of paper-making materials, the Government have considered the damage and ruin that may be caused to the many thousand journeymen printers in the United Kingdom; whether he is aware that these firms, by reason of the nature of their trade, are unable to keep in stock any large quantity of paper, and will consequently, unless they know whether the Committee will allow them to obtain the paper, be totally unable to undertake or tender for printing work; and whether, seeing that the effect of this restriction will divert to foreign countries work now done in this country, he will say what action he proposes to take?
I greatly regret the dislocation to trade which must inevitably result from even a partial prohibition of any class of imported goods, and the hon. Gentleman will realise that the decision to prohibit the import of one-third of the paper-making materials hitherto imported was only arrived at by the Government under stress of urgent need of the nation for tonnage and after careful consideration of all the circumstances. I have no doubt that the Royal Commission which has been recently appointed will do all in their power to lessen the inconvenience and hardship which must in some cases result from the prohibition.
§ 41. Major NEWMAN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, having regard to the advance in the price of paper for printing by nearly 50 per cent., to the fresh restriction now placed on the importation of paper, and to the fact that business will in the future, in the purchase of paper, be on a cash and not a credit basis, the Government intend to extend to journeymen printers a moratorium in respect of rent, rates, and taxes?
§ 42. Major NEWMAN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the proprietors or directors of any leading newspapers, with the exception of the 574 "Daily News," were invited to take a seat on the Commission to licence the import and distribution of paper?
Mr. Parke, who is the gentleman referred to in the hon. Member's question, was nominated by the Newspaper Proprietors' Association, and this nomination was conveyed to me by Lord Burnham, who informed me that Mr. Parke's name had been unanimously agreed upon as an expert representative of the newspaper branch of the paper trade. The Commission is formed on an expert and not on a representative basis, but in order to secure experts who have the full confidence of the others in their respective branches of the paper trade I consulted the various trade associations. With the exception of Sir Thomas Whittaker and Sir Rowland Bailey, practically every member of the Commission is the nominee of a trade association.