HC Deb 06 December 1951 vol 494 cc2539-40
17. . Sir Richard Acland

asked the Secretary for Overseas Trade, as representing the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, whether, to save dollar expenditure on paper, he will introduce legislation to prevent commercial undertakings from distributing unsolicited advertising matter to householders.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Henry Strauss)

I have been asked to reply. No, Sir. In the absence of comprehensive control over the distribution of paper, a prohibition of unsolicited advertising matter would have a negligible effect on our total import requirements.

Sir R. Acland

Would the Minister look at this and see whether in our present position of shortage, both of paper and purchasing power, it is sensible for a firm to send unsolicited this kind of thing to citizens and very likely get it paid for by striking off the cost against their Income Tax?

Mr. Strauss

I shall, of course, look at whatever the hon. Baronet sends me, but I would remind him that with the high cost of paper and certain existing legal restrictions the prohibition which he suggests might, in the absence of a full control, result in diversion which would be useless, and that full control, if it were adopted, would involve the use of staff and office accommodation which would certainly not be justified.

Sir R. Acland

Could not the hon. and learned Gentleman and his party, with all the influence they have with private trade, let it be known among private traders that this sort of thing is indecent at a time when the country has not sufficient resources to meet legitimate needs?