§ Captain BOWYER
asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that since 29th July last the publication of the Labour Gazette has become still more irregular, and that the November issue was not available at the Stationery Office on the morning of the 24th of this month; whether he is aware that the abnormal increase in price from one penny to sixpence will have the effect of restricting the circulation of this publication; and whether he could restrict the increase of price so that no more than three pence per copy could be charged?
§ Dr. MACNAMARA
As I informed my hon. and gallant Friend on 28th July, in reply to a previous question, the issue of the "Labour Gazette" has been delayed, in recent months, by reduction of overtime at the printers and by the increase in the size of the "Gazette." It may be pointed out that much of the statistical information given in the "Gazette" relates to the end of the previous month, and it is not possible to expedite the collection and preparation of this information sufficiently to compensate for the longer time required for printing. In the present month exceptional delay has been caused by unavoidable difficulties arising in the collection of some of the statistical information included, and I hope this will not recur; but while every effort is made to issue the" Gazette" at the earliest date possible, I am afraid that, under the conditions now obtaining, it is not practicable to arrange for copies to be placed on sale before the 20th or 21st of the month, at the earliest.
The increase in price was decided upon after very careful consideration. It is estimated that the present price of 6d. a copy will barely suffice to cover the cost of production, and in the present urgent necessity for economy I am not prepared to recommend the continuance, of the substantial charge on public funds which would be involved in selling the" Gazette" at considerably less than cost price.