Oral Answers to Questions — Newsprint Supplies

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd May 1954.

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Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton 12:00 am, 3rd May 1954

asked the Minister of State, Board of Trade, as representing the Minister of Materials, what supplies of newsprint are required and available from non-dollar sources to enable the rationing of newsprint to be ended.

Photo of Mr Derick Heathcoat-Amory Mr Derick Heathcoat-Amory , Tiverton

As I indicated in the House on 22nd February last, representatives of the newspapers informed my noble Friend that it might be possible to remove the statutory control over the distribution of newsprint next year if an additional 100,000 tons could be imported. They did not suggest that this would be sufficient to meet unrestricted consumption, but that they would themselves be able to keep consumption by the newspapers within the amount then available. Fifty thousand tons of this has since been authorised for importation from Canada.

So far as non-dollar newsprint is concerned the Newsprint Supply Company has advised by noble Friend that no additional supplies will be available this year, but that 50,000 tons may be available in 1955. A decision on this will be taken this year, in the light of the balance of payments position at the time.

Photo of Mr Marcus Lipton Mr Marcus Lipton , Lambeth Brixton

Is the Minister aware of the statement that 50,000 extra tons of additional newsprint are now obtainable either from home or Scandinavian producers? In view of that, he can no longer excuse himself on the ground either of supply difficulties or non-dollar difficulties. Why is he so obstinately determined to maintain the only rationed daily Press in the whole of the civilised world?

Mr. Amory:

The advice which I have received is as given in my answer. As regards the second part of the hon. and gallant Gentleman's supplementary, the dominating reason is that Her Majesty's Government do not yet feel able to allow the unrestricted import of newsprint.

Photo of Mr Ronald Russell Mr Ronald Russell , Wembley South

Is it not a welcome change for the hon. and gallant Member for Brixton (Lieut.-Colonel Lipton) to be asking for something to be derationed?