§ Mr. FOOT
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give his consideration to the question of the prices now being charged upon the sale to the public of Parliamentary Papers, seeing that these prices are in some instances almost prohibitive; and whether he will have regard to the direction given by this House in 1835 that all printed Parliamentary Papers should be made available to the public at a cheap rate?
As has been explained on previous occasions, the general principle on which Government publications are now priced is that of charging the actual cost of publication per copy, i.e., composition, press work, paper and binding, nothing being added for expenses of compilation. The cost of copies used for official purposes, distributed free, or remaining unsold, is borne by the State. In the case of Parliamentary publications, to facilitate rapid issue the price is usually fixed according to the size and nature of the publication, on a scale which on the average carries out the same principle. While the general rule is as stated, exceptions are frequently made in favour of a lower price where special reasons exist, and I am having particular attention directed to this matter. The hon. Member may however rest assured that in no case is a reduction refused where there is reason to think that the aggregate receipts from sales will thereby be increased.