HC Deb 14 November 1944 vol 404 cc1772-3
14. Mr. Graham White

asked the President of the Board of Trade the actual tonnage of paper which will be now available for the production of books under the recently announced increased allocation; and if he has been able to arrange for additional labour to be liberated to enable an increased output of books to be made.

Mr. Dalton

The total amount of paper allocated in the present four-monthly period for the production of books is 9,118 tons, an increase of 1,433 tons over the allocation in the last period. The Publishers' Association have informed me that the increase in their quotas will be largely used to produce longer runs, which are more economical of labour, and I am in close touch with my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Labour, on the labour requirements of the industry.

Mr. Graham White

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether, in view of the complete impossibility of meeting the urgent demand for books for educational purposes, both at home and abroad, he will do his utmost to give consideration to this matter, having regard to the "blackout" of learning that has taken place?

Mr. Dalton

There is a very substantial allocation for educational books, and I would like to see it larger, but, evidently, with regard to paper and labour required for printing, there are conditions of shortage due to the war effort, which my hon. Friend understands. We are doing our utmost, and, as a matter of fact, the production of books at the present time has increased as the result of this allocation, and is expected to increase still further.

Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

Is the Minister aware that I was informed yesterday that this paper cannot be fully used, unless bookbinders are released by the Ministry of Labour?

Mr. Dalton

That is one of the matters on which I am in touch with my right hon. Friend.