HL Deb 22 July 1958 vol 211 cc71-4

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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any statement to make as a corollary to their announcement on July 18, 1956, that distinctive stamps were to be issued in certain denominations for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man; and whether, seeing that in the opinion of many well qualified to judge an issue of small, low-value pictorial stamps would add to the revenue and benefit the tourist industry, they will consider the advisability of making an issue of that nature.]


My Lords, as my right honourable friend the Postmaster General has announced, the new 3d. stamps for Wales and Monmouthshire, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man will be put on sale on Monday, August 18, and the new 6d. and Is. 3d. stamps for Wales and Monmouthshire, Scotland and Northern Ireland, will be put on sale on Monday, September 29. Details of the designs of the twelve stamps will be published shortly before the 3d. denominations are isued.

With regard to the second part of the noble Viscount's Question, I have nothing to add to the information given in reply to his Questions on October 20, 1953, March 9, 1954, February 9, 1955, May 17, 1956, July 4, 1956, July 24, 1956, July 18, 1957, and February 13, 1958.


My Lords, I beg to thank the noble Lord for his Answer. I am sure that the stamps will be awaited with great interest in the country. With regard to the second part of the noble Lord's Answer, I wonder if he would be kind enough to ask my right honourable friend the progressively-minded Postmaster General whether he would turn a kindly eye in my direction and have designs printed for some small pictorial stamps so that he can see how attractive they are for any possible issue in the future.


I will certainly convey the noble Viscount's views to my progressively-minded right honourable friend. I am quite sure that he has considered this matter, but I do not think he is likely to move until such time as it is decided to change the policy.


My Lords, may I ask whether it is deliberately intended to restrict the new issue to what one might call the Celtic fringe? What is being done about the beauty spots in our own country? Would you consider, say, coming down with us to Essex and getting a picture of the island of Mersea and the estuary of the Blackwater, or shall we have to be content with the Scilly Isles?


I am grateful to the noble Viscount for his question, which is entirely and utterly hypothetical. There is no question at the present time of issuing pictorial stamps of any sort or kind; and no doubt if there were, the noble Viscount would not have asked his Question yet again.


My Lords, arising out of the original Question, is a distinctive stamp not going to be issued for England? I notice that England is not mentioned among the countries for which distinctive stamps are to be issued.


No, my Lords, it is not. The present thinking is that the existing stamps containing the rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock would represent England in association with the other parts of the British Isles. We believe that the stamps are popular and well-liked; and, of course, if they were withdrawn a regional stamp would have to he introduced, and I do not think that would be popular.


May I tell my noble friend how grateful Englishmen will be for his reply, and how greatly they regret that Her Majesty's Government are apparently being pushed by the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank, into collecting sixpences from the juvenile stamp collectors of the world.


My Lords, would the noble Lord make inquiries to ascertain, so far as he can, what additional revenue, as suggested in the Starred Question, is likely to be derived from these stamps? Presumably they are used commercially in the same way as ordinary stamps. What excess revenue is likely to be derived?


Any excess revenue that is likely to be derived must be a matter of complete guesswork. We rather think that the revenue concerned would not be very great.