Oral Answers to Questions — Paper Supplies – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd August 1944.

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Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich 12:00 am, 2nd August 1944

asked the Minister of Production whether he is aware that whereas the paper allocated annually to newspapers amounts to 250,000 tons, and to periodicals 50,000 tons, that allocated to books is less than 22,000 tons; and whether he will consider increasing the allocation to books to at least that allowed to periodicals.

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

Yes, Sir, I am aware of these figures, but books are receiving 40 per cent., newspapers and periodicals about 22½ per cent. of pre-war consumption. The supply position is such that we cannot at the moment make higher allocations.

Photo of Mr Richard Stokes Mr Richard Stokes , Ipswich

Is the Minister aware that the amount of 22,000 tons for books is less, by 3,000 tons, than the amount consumed by the War Office alone? Surely it is entirely out of proportion to the needs of what, after all, is a vital form of production. Educational books are in short supply.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

Will the right hon. Gentleman not reconsider this matter, in view of the fact that an increased allocation of newsprint that was accorded to newspapers was not, in fact, taken up by all the newspapers, and that a great deal was left on their hands, showing that the newspapers had too generous an allocation, and that there ought to be more for books and periodicals?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

With regard to the allocation to newspapers, that is now largely being taken up, because of the demand for news of the war. Perhaps it would meet the case if I said that I will reconsider the matter in the early autumn. There is no prospect of an increase in the supply of paper, but it may be that in the autumn our military and shipping position will make it possible for us to live on a smaller margin, and to take some risks. I am quite willing to go into that. I regard it as a serious matter.

Photo of Mr Thomas Brown Mr Thomas Brown , Ince

Is the Minister aware that a large percentage of the elementary and other schools are experiencing great difficulty in securing the required text books for the children, and will he not consider that aspect of the matter in relation to the question of an additional supply?

Photo of Mr Oliver Lyttelton Mr Oliver Lyttelton , Aldershot

I have already done so. There is a reserved allocation for educational books, and I have not received any complaints lately on the subject.

Photo of Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence Mr Frederick Pethick-Lawrence , Edinburgh East

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that a very large proportion of the paper for books does not have to be imported, but is obtained from internal sources, and that this is a very important question?