HC Deb 09 December 1965 vol 722 c583
17. Mr. J. Idwal Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the future of the Welsh Book Grant.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

My right hon. Friend intends to recommend to the House an increase in the grant from £5,000 to £7,500 per annum from the start of the next financial year and to propose that this rate be maintained for a period of five years.

Mr. Jones

Is my hon. Friend aware that his statement will be very welcome indeed in publishing circles in Wales, particularly since the former Government had decided to discontinue the grant in March of this year?

Mr. Roberts

The grant was indeed to come to an end in March of this year, but my right hon. Friend decided that it should be continued during the current financial year so that a new examination of the position might be undertaken. On the results of that examination, it was decided to make the recommendation which I have just announced.

Mr. Gibson-Watt

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that, although the grant was to come to an end on the date he gave, that did not necessarily mean the end of the matter altogether, since it had been decided that the matter should be reconsidered?

Mr. Roberts

I do not want to deal with this matter in a partisan way, because I know that there is support for it on both sides of the House. The position was that it was expected that the grant would, over a period of years, have attained its object by March, 1965. It is possible, of course, that it would have been reviewed in the way the present Government have reviewed it, but I doubt whether it would have been reviewed in quite as favourable and generous a way as we have reviewed it.