HC Deb 27 October 1943 vol 393 cc181-2
46 Mr. Barnes

asked the Minister of Production (1) whether he has any evidence that the majority of newspapers have been able to take up the 11½ per cent. increase permitted;

(2) the name or names of the bodies with whom he had consultations before he sanctioned the increase of 11½ per cent. in newsprint supplies;

(3) whether before sanctioning the increase of 11½ per cent. in newsprint supplies the repercussions of this increase on labour, materials and shipping space, was discussed with the Ministry of Labour, the Board of Trade and the Ministry of War Transport?

The Minister of Production (Mr. Lyttelton)

I am informed that some newspapers are using the full allocation but that a substantial number are not. The paper so saved is going into the general reserve stock of newsprint. The effect of this increase on the matters referred to was considered in conjunction with the appropriate Departments, and the representatives of the newspapers were also consulted.

Mr. Barnes

Does not the Minister admit in his reply that he has sanctioned an increase which goes beyond the desires of the public, and will he say why this preference should be given to one industry in contrast with the Government treatment of other industries in general?

Mr. Lyttelton

: The increase in the allocation for newspapers was made upon representations that the Forces were extremely short of newspapers. I think we must suspend judgment upon whether the whole of this increase will be taken to a slightly later date, because the alteration has hardly had time to work.

Mr. Barnes

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I desire to give notice that I shall raise this matter at an appropriate time upon the Adjournment.

49. Sir A. Hudson

asked the Minister of Production whether he has yet looked into the question of replacing the paper cut to weekly newspapers and periodicals to put them again on the same quota as the daily newspapers; whether it was after consultation with him that the War Office, through the Stationery Office, selected 14 out of some 500 weekly newspapers and periodicals to whom extra paper should be allotted; that the weekly newspapers and periodicals are dissatisfied with this arrangement; and whether, since this concession will involve less than 90 tons of paper per week as against 500 tons already granted to the daily newspapers, he will treat all newspapers and periodicals alike?

Mr. Lyttelton

Yes, Sir. I have decided to allot more paper to periodicals to bring their allocation into line with that for newspapers. The purpose is to enable the needs of the Forces to be fully met, and I am now consulting the representatives of the periodicals as to the method by which this can be done.

Sir A. Hudson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his reply will give great satisfaction to those concerned and that he will get the greatest co-operation from the weekly newspapers to make the scheme a success?

Mr. Lindsay

As my right hon. Friend says there is a surplus from the newspapers, will he give a little larger allocation for books, to bring them more into line?

Mr. Lyttelton

As I replied last week, I am examining the question of whether some special allocation can be made for books, and more particularly for educational books, but I have not yet completed my inquiries.