§ 12. Mr. Gerald Williams
asked the President of the Board of Trade when he anticipates being able to increase the amount of paper allowed in the production of local weekly newspapers.
Mr. H. Wilson
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. and gallant Member for Norfolk, Central (Brigadier Medlicott), on 28th March. Since then the Newsprint Rationing Committee has, I understand, decided to continue the present extra page until 1st July
§ Mr. Williams
Is the Minister aware that trade is being hampered considerably because of the practice of using A and B editions for small advertisements, which means that the advertisers get only half the circulation? It is doing a great deal of damage to local trade.
§ 22. Mr. Hurd
asked the President of the Board of Trade why he has allowed periodicals an unlimited share of the available newsprint while supplies to newspapers are still rationed strictly; and if, in fairness to the newspapers, he will allow them to use paper other than newsprint if they desire to increase the size of newspapers.
Mr. H. Wilson
The amount of newsprint for periodicals is not unlimited. Its use for all purposes is still subject to licence and the amount allowed for periodicals is, in fact, small. Newspapers may use paper other than newsprint if they so wish, but available supplies would not be sufficient to permit of any general increase in the size of newspapers.
§ Mr. Hurd
Has the right hon. Gentleman taken note of the latest figures of newsprint consumption, which show that periodicals like "The Radio Times" are now taking up to 3,000 tons a week out of a total of 14,000 tons? Is he satisfied that there will be enough newsprint for daily and weekly newspapers to fulfil their proper functions?
The amount of additional newsprint reserved for periodicals in the period following the decontrol of periodicals is only 5,000 tons, and not all of this may be licensed. In fact, 17,000 tons extra are required for newspapers to maintain a seven-page newspaper.
§ Sir Waldron Smithers
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the granting of these licences is subject to confirmation or otherwise by this House, or is this a further example of the dictatorship of the Socialist Government?
The point of the Question by the hon. Gentleman's hon. Friend was that newspapers were in considerable trouble following the decontrol of periodicals.