HL Deb 09 March 1954 vol 186 cc177-9

2.37 p.m.


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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, with a view to portraying to the world in extensive fashion some of the scenic beauties and historical monuments of the British Isles, they will favourably consider the issue of small British pictorial stamps of low values bearing the Monarch's head and the name of this country.]


My Lords, as my noble friend the Paymaster General said, in answering a Question put down by the noble Viscount in October last, the low value stamps in their present size do not lend themselves very readily to effective pictorial designs. And there is no doubt that most people seem to prefer the smaller to the larger stamps. Your Lordships will appreciate that, as the series of low value stamps of the new reign has just been completed, this is perhaps not the best moment for considering any basic change in their content. Incidentally, so far as I can judge from the comment that has reached me, not only from users in this country but also from abroad, the current new series has been well received. But I can assure the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, that I have seen to it that his views have been carefully noted, and I have no doubt that they will be taken into consideration when it is decided at some future date to replace the current issue of stamps by a different design.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl for his Answer. May I say that I hope that eventually my objective will be achieved.


My Lords, may I ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider this matter very carefully before substituting pictorial landscape gardening upon even the largest stamps for the dignified forms which we have inherited from our ancestors?


My Lords, I think the whole question of the design of stamps is important, and one to which careful thought should be devoted before any change is made. I can assure the noble Lord, Lord Saltoun, that the consideration which he has mentioned, and many others, will be taken carefully into account.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Earl whether he is unaware of the fact that amongst philatelists there is a feeling that this country is too conservative in respect of stamp design, and. shows a lack of enterprise—enterprise which, if carried out in accordance with what is asked by the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, would, I am certain, bring considerable grist to the Treasury mill.


I am quite-unaware of such a feeling as the noble Lord has mentioned. Since I assumed my present office I have had fairly close contact with the philatelists' organisation and, indeed, I will take it upon myself to send to the noble Lord a copy of comments which were made by philatelists in the last issue of their journal—comments which were extremely favourable to the new designs.


Have Her Majesty's Government seriously entertained the idea of having a special stamp suitable for Scotland?


They have entertained all sorts of ideas.