18. Air-Commodore Harvey
asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the future supply position of newsprint.
Mr. H. Wilson
There is nothing which I can yet add to the statement I made on 22nd May, when this matter was discussed in the debate on the Motion for the Adjournment.
Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm that as from 1st July, the daily national newspapers are to be reduced in size, and say why this country is exporting something like 100,000 tons of newsprint a year, much of it to Australia? Why not keep it here and let other countries buy it from Canada and the dollar areas?
Instead of attempting to control the size of the newspapers, week by week and month by month, this was left to the newspaper trade itself within the supplies available. I understand from them that they propose to return from the seven pages originally fixed for the election period to six pages at the beginning of July. We are exporting newsprint to Australia to pay for the wool, raw materials and foodstuffs which we import from that country.
There has been no decision yet as to the amount of dollars to be allocated for newsprint in 1951.
Will the Minister say why it has been decided to reduce the size of the national dailies?
I understand from my discussions with them that the calculations 529 they made earlier, when they were hoping to maintain the seven page newspaper for a longer period, have proved somewhat unrealistic because it has been more difficult than was expected to buy supplies in certain soft currency countries.
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment at a very early date.