§ 2. Mr. HINDS
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in view of the fact that no trader can send out advertising catalogues or circulars after the 10th instant, and that many traders have such catalogues and circulars now being printed which cannot be cancelled with out loss and unnecessary waste of paper, he will at once give instructions that the date fixed in the Order shall be postponed to 31st March, subject to the provision named in the amended Regulation since published?
A general licence will be issued extending up to 24th March, the period for the issue of catalogues, etc., which were already in process of printing at the date of the Order. Individual applications for a further extension of time in exceptional cases will be considered by the Paper Commission on their merits.
§ 3. Mr. HINDS
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the request in writing referred to in Clause 3 of the Order in Council under the Defence of the Realm Act referring to advertising circulars is to be interpreted as meaning that a separate request in writing must be made for each individual circular, or that, a request having once been made in writing to the trader, he will be in order in sending his catalogues, circulars, or price lists to such person without a request being made in writing in respect of each such circular; and, if the first meaning is to be attached to the order, will he say whether he has realised the 690 inconvenience to the public residing in outlying districts which must result and the hardship which will be inflicted on the trader?
The request in writing referred to in the Order need not be for one particular circular, but may be a general request for all such circulars as may be issued, or for all circulars of some specified class or description.
§ 4. Mr. HINDS
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the Order in Council prohibiting the delivery by traders of catalogues and circulars will destroy immediately a large amount of mail-order business which has taken years to build up, and that, apart from such business, a large part of the regular trade done by suburban and provincial firms throughout the country depends upon the issue of advertising catalogues; and if he will say what steps he proposes to take to economise the use of paper by the curtailment of advertisements of the same nature in the public Press which will have the effect of diverting a large volume of trade to those houses who, by reason of their situation in the centre of London or other large provincial centres, are alone able to avail themselves of such methods of advertising?
The Order which has been issued will not preclude the sending of catalogues to persons who ask for them, and will, I hope, not unduly interfere with the maintenance of essential business. It is not at present proposed to impose restrictions on advertisements in newspapers.
§ Mr. PEMBERTON BILLING
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether it is proposed to stop the circulars of non-essential industries entirely?
If my hon. Friend will see the Order he will see that power is taken to regulate the use of circulars.
§ 8. Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, in granting licences to shopkeepers and others whose trade depends 691 upon the issue of circulars enabling them to use such circulars, he will in every case allow circulars that have been printed to be sent out and thus prevent financial loss?
As has already been announced in the Press, a period of a fortnight (ending 24th March) has been allowed without specific licences being required for the sending out of circulars which tradesmen had on hand.
§ Mr. MACDONALD
The point I want to find out is this: Supposing circulars are actually printed, so that there can be no saving of paper or of labour in regard to them, will those who have ordered them in a bond fide way be entitled to circulate them?
I have stated that there will be free circulation of circulars of that character up to 24th March.
§ 13. Mr. OUTHWAITE
asked the Secretary to the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that advertisers have in many cases posters already printed; and will he see that unnecessary loss is not inflicted upon them by the prevention of distribution?
The provisions of Clause 1 of the Order with regard to the size of posters prohibits manufacture of posters over a certain size, but not the exhibition of posters already in stock. The only provision against the exhibition of posters is that relating to newspaper bills and to goods offered for sale by a retailer, and as regards the latter it has been decided to allow a limited time within which those already in stock may be exhibited.