Import of Books

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Commerce – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th April 1947.

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Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Sutton Coldfield 12:00 am, 29th April 1947

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) under what authority restrictions have been imposed on the import of Australian books into the United Kingdom;

(2) whether he will adjust existing restrictions upon the import of literature into the United Kingdom so as to differentiate in favour of imports from the sterling area.

Photo of Mr John Belcher Mr John Belcher , Sowerby

I regret that I am unable to adopt the hon. Member's suggestion, for reasons which are given fully in the statement circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT for 17th April in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeffington-Lodge). As explained in that statement, the present arrangements for the import of books have been devised so as to take account, as far as is consistent with our obligation not to discriminate against imports from the U.S.A., of the growth of the publishing industry in Australia and other Commonwealth countries since 1939.

Photo of Sir John Mellor Sir John Mellor , Sutton Coldfield

Will the hon. Gentleman say why imports from the sterling area should be restricted by reference to the quantity of literature we can afford to buy from the United States?

Photo of Mr John Belcher Mr John Belcher , Sowerby

I think the hon. Gentleman is well aware of the fact that the loan agreement does tie us to some extent not to discriminate against imports from the United States of America in favour of other countries.

Photo of Wing Commander Geoffrey Cooper Wing Commander Geoffrey Cooper , Middlesbrough West

Will the Minister go into the whole question of seeing that the allocation of paper is diverted to the channels which are most important instead of being wasted on hoardings and similar ugly devices, since we want all the paper we can have for books?

Photo of Mr John Belcher Mr John Belcher , Sowerby

I am afraid that if I started an inquiry into the most effective and useful distribution of paper I should be bombarded by inquiries and representations from various quarters of the House in favour of very many different uses.