HC Deb 28 October 1954 vol 531 cc2109-11
5. Sir I. Fraser

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will now remove the control on the importation of newsprint.

14. Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether adequate supplies will be available in 1955 to enable newsprint to be decontrolled.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

The balance of payments position does not as yet permit the removal of the control on the importation of newsprint, but I am at present discussing with the Newsprint Supply Company what further progress can he made and whether more freedom in the use of newsprint can be allowed in 1955.

Sir I. Fraser

Will my right hon. Friend remember that the difference between men and beasts is that men can read; and that it really is a very serious matter to limit the daily exercise of this priceless function?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I am to discuss this question of newsprint with the Newsprint Supply Company tomorrow.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Is the President of the Board of Trade aware that the 900,000 tons of newsprint which could be made available in 1955 would suffice to enable this restriction to be abolished without any fear about the balance of payments, foreign supplies, or anything of that kind?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Various statements are made about how much would be necessary to do this, that or the other. These matters, which are serious and difficult, are under discussion between me and the Newsprint Supply Company at the present time. I have a meeting with them tomorrow. I think we might wait the outcome of it before reaching any final decision.

Sir D. Savory

What is the saving in dollars by means of these controls?

Mr. Thorneycroft

It is estimated that if freedom for this commodity, and the other consequential freedoms which would necessarily follow, went to their full extent, the burden on our overseas exchange would be about £40 million in sterling, a very substantial sum, not all dollars.

Mr. Rankin

When the right hon. Gentleman is considering this matter, will he see that no steps are taken to make the publication of American horror comics easier in this country?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The problem of newsprint supply is already sufficiently complicated without bringing any further difficulties into it.

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