HC Deb 04 March 1924 vol 170 cc1165-6

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that, owing to the greatly enhanced prices of Government publications, very few libraries can now provide full sets of such documents, easy access to which is of great importance to many sections of the public; and whether he is prepared to make a substantial reduction in the prices or to give specially favourable terms to public libraries?

54. Mr. ALDEN

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has received an appeal from the council of the Library Association on the subject of the distribution and cost of Parliamentary publications; and whether, in view of the importance of such publications to industrial workers and students of sociology, he will consider the advisability of reducing the annual subscription from £38 to the former annual payment of £22, which was the price fixed prior to the year 1918?


I will answer these questions together. My right hon. Friend has had the appeal under consideration and has decided, in lieu of the existing arrangements under which a few publications are presented annually to some Public Libraries, other supplies being charged at full price, to authorise the Stationery Office to supply any Government publication in future at half the published price, or half the subscription price for a class of publications, as desired. This arrangement will apply to all public free libraries in Great Britain maintained out of the rates and the offer is also extended to universities and university colleges in receipt of assistance from the University Grants Committee. In all cases the supply is subject to the condition that the publications are not to be resold.


Is there any possibility of the Financial Secretary including in that scheme libraries maintained by workmen?


I must ask for time to consider that question. At the moment we feel that it is a very large concession which we have made. We will take the hon. Member's suggestion into consideration.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir J. NALL

In view of the concession just announced, does the hon Gentleman expect anyone to buy the publications at the full price, and will not the resulting decrease in sales cause difficulties?


All the considerations were reviewed, but my right hon. Friend thought that a case had been made out for a cheaper supply on the lines suggested, in order to meet the needs of students and others.


Will the hon. Gentleman consult the President of the Board of Trade as to the form in which these Blue-hooks might appear?


That question does not arise.