HC Deb 30 January 1918 vol 101 cc1577-8W

asked the Minister of Reconstruction whether it is by his authority that a Press campaign has been started to help the abolition of the boards of guardians; that an article drafted by the Special Intelligence Branch of the Ministry of Reconstruction was issued to the Press last week headed for publication Thursday, 24th January; and whether the article began by stating that, with a view to facilitating the handling by the Press of the Local Government Committee on the Transfer of the Functions of Poor Law Authorities, the Special Intelligence Branch of the Ministry of Reconstruction offered a survey of its points for publication or for leader writers' use?


The explanatory statement to which the hon. and gallant Member refers was issued to the Press through the Special Intelligence Branch of the Ministry for use at their discretion, The statement did not purport, and was not intended, to influence in any way the reception which the Press might give to the Report. But it has been found in this and in other cases that, in view of the public interest taken in Reconstruction questions and of the wide scope of the matters dealt with in the Reports of special Committees on such questions, the prompt and free discussion of a Committee's proposals is materially assisted by the issue in advance of statements summarising in popular form the principal matters on which Committees have themselves laid emphasis. The policy governing this action is expressly indicated in the note affixed to this Report (Cd. 8917), and the answer to all parts of the questions (subject to the qualifications made above in regard to the suggestion in the first part) is, therefore, in the affirmative.