51. Mr. De la Bère
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government are taking to discourage and prohibit the practice of certain Government Departments in utilising the services of special Press and publicity agents that may be attached to, or identified with, the particular Departments; and whether he will circularise all Government Departments, drawing their attention to the facilities which exist through the Ministry of Information for any publicity which they may deem to be necessary?
§ Sir K. Wood
It remains the policy of the Government that Departments which have public relations officers and Press officers should preserve their existing contacts with the Press and the public in regard to purely Departmental affairs, but that there should be full and effective collaboration between them and the Ministry of Information which is the central organisation for the conduct of Government publicity. Departments have been made aware of the resources of the Ministry of Information in order that they may avail themselves of them to the fullest extent.
Mr. De la Bére
Will the Chancellor focus his attention on such Departments as the Board of Trade? Is he not aware that in this case Saturdays are regular gala days when matters which could quite easily be dealt with in this House are dealt with at great length in the Press? Is he 642 not aware that this House is very jealous of its rights, and not having Saturday mornings used as gala days of publicity for Departments?
Sit Herbert Williams
How is it that the Chancellor's Department employs a Press officer at £1,700 a year, and his job is so light that he does not require the assistance of a junior clerk?
§ Sir K. Wood
I am surprised that my hon. Friend is suggesting that I should increase my Department.
Mr. De la Bère
Is it not a monstrous system? The whole thing is doing away with the rights of the House. It is quite wrong.