HC Deb 04 December 1987 vol 123 cc724-5W
Mr. George

To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many official histories have been commissioned by the Government since 1957; what are their titles; when each was commenced; when each was completed; who were the authors; and what was the cost of each;

(2) how many Government-sponsored official histories are currently in preparation; when they were commissioned; who are the authors; what are the estimated dates of completion; and what is the estimated cost in each case.

The Prime Minister

The original programme of official histories commissioned by the War Cabinet covered the military and civil history of the second world war. The final volume in this series "History of the War in the Mediterranean and the Middle East", volume VI, part 3 by General Sir William Jackson, CBE, KCB, MC, will be published during 1988.

Subsequently two further groups of wartime histories were commissioned:

Title Author Commissioned Completion/publication
British Contribution to the Korean Conflict2 General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley 1978 Estimated completion date 1988
The Health Service since the War2 Dr. Charles Webster 1978 Vol. I due to be published 1988. Estimated completion of vol. II 1992/3
1 Main preparation and all publication costs met by commercial publishers.
2 Currently in preparation.

The cost of preparing official histories is borne on the votes of several Government Departments, mainly the Cabinet Office; the cost of printing, publishing and distribution falls to HMSO (revenue from sales goes towards offsetting these costs). It is not possible now without disproportionate cost to itemise the cost of individual histories.