HL Deb 11 November 1947 vol 152 c584WA

asked His Majesty's Government, whether they are satisfied that officials empowered to grant licences for the importation of foreign books under the recent restrictions are fully qualified to judge of the claims of applicants for licences and the merits of the books they seek to import; and whether, and if so to whom, there is to be any right of appeal from their decisions.


I am glad to assure the noble Lord that neither officials nor Ministers are required to decide upon the merits of particular books in considering applications for licences. Licences are granted to pre-war importers for the import of any learned, scientific and technical books in English, up to a specified total value. Importers are required to give an undertaking that only books which are within those categories will be imported and to furnish a list of titles at the end of each licence period, in order to show that there has been no obvious abuse. Books in foreign languages are, in general, licensed freely. In the event of refusal of a licence, it is always open to an importer to appeal, in the usual way, to the President of the Board of Trade as the Minister responsible.

House adjourned at twenty-one minutes past four o'clock.