HC Deb 27 June 1950 vol 476 cc2095-6
49. Miss Ward

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware that Press announcements and wireless statements are not sufficient to inform all interested persons of changes in law or administrative regulations; and what instructions he has given Departments as to the further steps to be taken.

The Prime Minister

When changes are made in the law or in Statutory Rules and Orders which affect some clearly defined section of the community, Departments normally circularise the trade or professional organisations concerned, and I have no doubt that in many cases they pass on the information to their individual members; in the case of changes affecting the community as a whole, such as adjustments in the rationing system, it is obviously not possible to give direct warning to everyone individually, but as hon. Members will be aware, in addition to Press publicity, including advertising, and announcements on the wireless, posters are displayed and leaflets explaining the changes are often available in the local offices of the Departments concerned. In general, I have no reason to think that the publicity given to such matters is inadequate.

Miss Ward

Will the right hon. Gentleman give me an assurance that in future Government Departments will not assume and put in writing that information which is broadcast and given in the Press makes it certain that everybody understands an alteration in the regulations, particularly having regard to the fact that the right hon. Gentleman the other day told me that he himself had not the time to listen to wireless announcements?

The Prime Minister

I can never be sure that everybody will ever understand anything that is either written or spoken.

Mr. Assheton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is a very real problem at the present time, and that anything that can be done to help should be done?

The Prime Minister

I quite agree. We will do all we can, and if there is any specific Department which the right hon. Gentleman thinks is not doing its full share in this matter I hope he will let me know.