Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland. – in the House of Commons on 25th July 1933.
Duchess of ATHOLL:51.
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that the price of the unrevised proofs of minutes of evidence taken before the Joint Select Committee on Indian Constitutional Reform is in some cases as much as 2s. for one day's evidence; that this is the same price as that charged for the Proposals for Indian Constitutional Reform, Cmd. 4268, to the price of which exception was taken before by hon. Members; and, seeing that the evidence published at 2s. contains about half the number of pages of Cmd. 4268 and is an unrevised proof on cheap paper with a paper cover, whether he can see his way to getting the price reduced?
The price of the 24 daily parts of the evidence so far taken before the Joint Select Committee on Indian Constitutional Reform, and its Sub-Committees, has ranged from 6d. to 2s. in accordance with the authorised scale for pricing Parliamentary Papers. The evidence is printed in double columns and in smaller type than Command Paper 4268, which was priced at 2s. under the same scale, and I see no sufficient reason for departing from the scale in this case.
Duchess of ATHOLL:
Does not my hon. Friend realise the great importance of the evidence that is being laid before the Joint Select Committee, and that it is the first time the discussion of this very important question is being heard; and how is it possible to expect the circulation which he wishes the evidence should have if the price remains as high as it is?
I am quite aware of the importance of the evidence, and I think it highly commendable that these papers should be read by everybody, but at the same time the taxpayer cannot be expected to subsidise everybody's literary tastes.
Is it not the case, however, that the prices of these publications are based on the assumption that each of them will have the same circulation, and that no provision is made for selling more cheaply when a larger circulation can be obtained?