HC Deb 31 January 1940 vol 356 cc1130-2
34. Sir G. Gibson

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that announcements relating to Statutory Rules and Orders are being issued in the Press before the actual copies of the Orders in print are available; that on 13th January reference was made in the Press to the maximum prices for home-grown oats, but that the official order relating thereto is not yet available; that the new Order relating to lights on motor vehicles which came into operation on 22nd January is not yet available in print; that great inconvenience is caused to the commercial community owing to the delay in obtaining official copies of these Orders; and whether he will arrange that printed copies of all Statutory Rules and Orders shall be available simultaneously with any announcements regarding them appearing in the Press?

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Captain Crookshank)

I think my hon. Friend is under some misapprehension. The Home Grown Oats (Control and Maximum Prices) Order, to which I assume my hon. Friend refers, was made by my right hon. Friend on 27th January last and was sent to the Stationery Office for printing in the afternoon of the same day. Copies of the Order which will come into force on 1st February next were issued for sale on 30th January. As regards the Lighting (Restrictions) Order, 1940, copies of this Order, which came into operation at midday on 22nd January, were on sale at the opening of business on that morning and have been available ever since.

I may add that every effort is made to ensure that copies of Orders should be available to the public as soon as possible after the making of them is announced in the Press, but it is not always possible to arrange that printed copies should be on sale simultaneously with the Press announcement. In the case of the Home Grown Oats Order, however, the Press announcement of 13th January was expressly made as a preliminary notice of an Order which my right hon. Friend intended to make in the near future.

Sir G. Gibson

Is it not a fact that the contents of some of these Orders have been published in the Press before they have been available to Members of this House; and if so, why?

Captain Crookshank

I have explained exactly what happened in the cases of the two Orders to which my hon. Friend referred, and from what I have said he will see that they were made available at once. If he has any other cases in mind, perhaps he will let me know of them. I am as anxious as he is that these Orders should be available as soon as possible.