20. Mr. Keelinģ
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the expenditure per prisoner on books for prison libraries has been or will be raised to cover the increase since the outbreak of war in the cost of books.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Herbert Morrison)
Under a Treasury ruling common to all Departments with grants for buying books, the grant for books for prison libraries was cut by 25 per cent. in 1940. I am glad to say that it has now been found possible to restore this grant to the pre-war figure. In the meantime, however, with the goodwill and encouragement of the County Councils Association, very valuable help, which I gratefully acknowledge, has been given to prison libraries from various county libraries and also from other libraries and from private gifts. Arrangements have now been made at some prisons for prisoners to have access to the prison library and to choose and exchange their own books; this, wherever it has been instituted, has resulted in a marked decrease in destruction of books, and it is hoped to extend this experiment to other prisons as soon as the staff situation permits.
Does my right hon. Friend think that, as a result of these arrangements, for which I thank him, the supply of hooks available per prisoner is as great as it was before the war?
§ Mr. Morrison
I think so, and, indeed, the county libraries arrangement, I think, should enable the number of books to be greater than before the war.
§ Mr. McEntee
Can the Minister say whether HANSARD is supplied, and, if not, whether he will consider supplying it?