HC Deb 03 February 1947 vol 432 cc1391-2
47. Mr. Bossom

asked the PrimeMinister whether he will now consider in structing all Departments to dispense with their Public Relations Officers, permitting in their place the staffs of the Press to obtain and publish their own unbiased reports of the actual performances of the several Departments.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. There is no intention of dispensing with information officers regarding whose functions the hon. Member seems to be misinformed. So far from hindering the Press, their work is essential to the expeditious handling of Press inquiries.

Mr. Bossom

In the face of the ever-lasting complaints about the shortage of manpower, and the exhortations of so many Ministers to everybody to work harder, how can the right hon. Gentleman justify this waste of manpower at the present time?

The Prime Minister

I do not accept the assumption that it is a waste of manpower. On the contrary, I have been assured by journalists themselves that these information officers are extremely helpful.

Mr. De la Bère

Is it not a fact that the taxpayers' money is being used for this purpose, which is nothing more or less than Government propaganda, which is often wide of the truth, and very harmful to all those who read it?

Mr. Wilson Harris

Does not the work of these officials avoid a waste of the time of administrative officers?

The Prime Minister

That 15 quite true.

Mr. Hopkin Morris

Will the right hon. Gentleman issue instructions that the growing practice of civil servants holding Press conferences should be discontinued?

The Prime Minister

I should like to have notice of that question.