HC Deb 23 November 1950 vol 481 cc495-6
35. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the President of the Board of Trade why he permits or encourages newsprint to be exported from this country to the Commonwealth while our own newspapers are forced to cut down both their contents and their circulation.

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Harold Wilson)

These exports of newsprint are the subject of valuable long-term contracts made by our home mills, They also make an important contribution to our balance of payments, particularly with Australia. Great importance is attached to them by the mills and Commonwealth countries concerned.

Sir T. Moore

Is it not rather ridiculous that when our own people are going short of both news and views we should assist others in great abundance, irrespective of contracts?

Mr. Wilson

I am sure the hon. and gallant Gentleman will realise our responsibilities also to the Commonwealth countries, who otherwise would be spending dollars to import newsprint from the dollar area.

Air Commodore Harvey

While recognising the necessity for newsprint at home, will the right hon. Gentleman bear In mind that there is an urgent requirement for maintaining the newsprint supply in Malaya, as newsprint has its part to play in overcoming the emergency?

Mr. Wilson

Yes. Sir. That comes up on another Question today.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Would not the position be vastly improved if newspapers made better use of what they have already?

41. Mr. Deedes

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he contemplates authorising any fresh approach to Canada with regard to future supplies of newsprint; and whether, in order to help the Canadian industry and the newspapers, he will consider the possibility of allowing longer term contracts than hitherto.

Mr. H. Wilson

I am in consultation with the Newsprint Supply Company on this subject, but I am unable to make any statement at present.