HL Deb 25 October 1949 vol 164 cc1093-4

2.35 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether, in view of the decision that to assist in overcoming the present financial difficulties of the country, economies will have to be made in administration, some indication can be given of the present total expenditure of the Government on propaganda and public relations services of every kind; and what steps are to be taken to achieve an immediate and drastic reduction in this class of luxury expenditure.]


My Lords, details of the amounts provided for home and overseas information expenditure during the current financial year were given in a White Paper on Government Information Services (Cmd. 7697) published last May. I am having a copy sent to the noble Lord. He will see that the estimated expenditure by or on behalf of home departments was about £5,000,000, and the corresponding figure for overseas departments was about £11,000,000 As was announced yesterday in another place, the total is to be reduced by more than £1,000,000. The Government, however, regard it as essential to retain adequate information services at home and abroad and could not agree that this expenditure should be classed as luxury expenditure.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for his reply, may I ask His Majesty's Government whether they do not consider that they could do a little better than make a cut of £1,000,000? Could this expenditure not be cut by £5,000,000 or something like that? Do His Majesty's Government not realise that they have a unique opportunity of imposing a cut which will please everybody and upset nobody?


My Lords, I am afraid I can only offer the suggestion to the noble Lord that, while I am perfectly ready to discuss this matter with him in private, what is most popular is not always what is right, and the Government must take their stand on that position.

Back to