HC Deb 01 February 1949 vol 460 cc1502-3
37. Colonel Gomme-Duncan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that it was necessary to issue seven corrections to the Press Notice on Research on Agricultural Engineering, issued from St. Andrew's House on 14th January, 1949; that these corrections were not issued until three days after publication of the original document; and what action he proposes to take to improve the procedure of his Department in such matters.

Mr. T. Fraser

Of the seven corrections referred to six consisted of the substitution of one letter for another in the names of five English members of the Committee which had been inaccurately teleprinted; the seventh was a rectification of a slip in the description of the title of the Committee. The Press notice, the substance of which was unaffected, was issued on Friday, 14th January; the trivial errors were discovered on Saturday, 15th January after its publication in the daily papers; and the correcting slip was issued on the Monday, 17th January primarily for the benefit of the weekly newspapers.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

In view of the enormously swollen staffs in Government Departments, are there not enough people to see that these things go out correctly on the first day? Secondly, may I have an answer to the last part of my Question, as to what the right hon. Gentleman proposes to do to improve the procedure in such matters?

Mr. Fraser

There are no steps my right hon. Friend needs to take to improve the procedure. These slips were small and insignificant, as I have indicated—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—and did not affect the substance of the statement. Very largely the slips involved the insertion of a "C" for a "G" in the initials of members of the Committee and I do not think that was a serious matter.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Why did it not go out correctly the first time?