HC Deb 14 August 1940 vol 364 cc766-7
29. Mr. James Griffiths

asked the Minister of Information what are the present, and prospective, duties and functions of the Local Information Committees set up by his Department; whether he is aware that there is apprehension that these committees will in some ways usurp the functions of the local authorities; and will he make a statement on the matter?

Mr. Cooper

Local Information Committees are intentionally without precisely defined functions. They are a valuable and voluntary link between the Ministry of Information and the inhabitants of places where they have been set up, and they assist the Ministry as seems best to them in any and every form of local publicity towards winning the war, namely, in organising anti-waste or anti-rumour campaigns, in arranging public meetings, in the showing of films otherwise than in public cinemas, in helping to entertain distinguished allied visitors, and generally in heartening the cooperative spirit of the people. I have no fear that these committees will usurp the functions of local authorities. In the great majority of instances representatives of local authorities are included among their membership, and in all cases close contact with the local authority is maintained.

Mr. Griffiths

Do I gather from the right hon. Gentleman's reply that these committees will not in any circumstances be used to fulfil any of the functions normally fulfilled by elected representatives of the people or local authorities?

Mr. Cooper

Yes, Sir.

Mr. T. Smith

Can the right hon. Gentleman make it perfectly clear which bodies are entitled to be represented on these committees, in view of what has taken place in one or two districts?

Mr. Cooper

I should not like to give a list of the bodies without preparation, but all local bodies are entitled to be represented if they make their wishes known.

Major Milner

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that the bulletins issued by local information bureaus are circulated to Members of Parliament in the areas of the committees?

Mr. Cooper

Certainly, Sir.