asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that some firms of publishers who own large stocks of paper, are comparatively unaffected by existing ration restrictions; whether any estimate or survey has been made of paper stocks outside the Control, and what is the quantity?
The quota restriction on the consumption of paper has not hitherto been applied to periodicals relying on their own stocks, but it is being extended to them. The stocks of paper held by the larger publishers are known to the Paper Control. It would not be in the public interest to publish the figures. Information as to stocks held by printers and others outside the Control has not been collected, but the total quantity is estimated to be relatively small.
Is it not rather late in the day to discover that some publishers have enormous quantities of paper stocks which they are able to use without regard to the Paper Control, and when will these stocks be brought from private resources into the national pool?
The existence of these stocks was known. These stocks are, and always have been, in the course of consumption, but the system under which the rationing was made has now been altered.
Is it not a fact that some of the publishers are using their paper to print the most undesirable and filthy books, which can be seen on the bookstalls and are a danger to our young people?
asked the Minister of Supply whether he is aware that publishers of more than one periodical who, prior to 22nd November last, had surplus paper from some of their journals, have transferred the surplus to their more prosperous publications and thus stabilised their allotment for these journals at a high figure; and whether he will publish the names of the Committee concerned with the allocation of paper and a list of periodicals, showing the amount of paper consumed in the current licensing period as a percentage of the amount consumed in the proportionate period of 1938–39?
Until November last publishers were permitted to distribute their rations of paper among their various periodicals at their discretion and as a result a number of periodicals have been closed down entirely. The basis has now been changed, and the basic ration is fixed for each periodical in relation to recent consumption. The Ministry are advised by a committee as to the grant of supplementary rations of paper to particular periodicals from the small quantity of paper held back for this purpose. I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of the Committee. There are very many periodicals, however, and I hope the hon. Member will not press me to publish the list of these.