The Army News Service sends material to four Army papers, all overseas. A fifth paper is published mainly for Gurkha troops and makes little use of the service. Only one paper is supplied with news by Forcereuter. Besides these newspapers, some local garrison broadsheets are published at stations abroad and have access to the news service. The papers are produced by a duplicating process and do not publish photographs. Their relationship with the Army News Service is that all form part of the Army Educational Services.
Has my right hon. Friend reviewed these arrangements recently? Can he give the House an assurance that the expenditure involved is still considered by his Department to be strictly necessary?
asked the Secretary of State for War how many commercially-owned newspapers receive the benefit of the Army News Service and Forcereuter; what such commercially-owned newspapers pay to the War Office for the services received; what is the annual income; when the rates were last revised; what rates are charged for such services: and whether he will make a statement.
If we did not have this agreement with these commercially-owned newspapers we should not be able to get printed a large amount of news of considerable interest to our Forces overseas. This is a very economical way of cutting down the number of our own newspapers and at the same time giving the information available to them which is of interest to our soldiers and other Servicemen overseas.
asked the Secretary of State for War the total annual cost carried on the War Department Vote, or otherwise borne directly or indirectly by Her Majesty's Treasury, in respect of the Army News Service and Forcereuter, having regard to staff salaries paid in the Army News Service, the rent of the Holloway Road, London, N.1 premises, fees payable to Fleet Street picture agencies, payments to Reuter's Agency, and others; how many persons are employed by the Army News Service and Forcereuter; what fluctuations have taken place in the extent of this staff during the last few years; and whether he will make a statement as to future policy for operating the Army News Service and Forcereuter.
The annual cost is about £10,000, excluding our payments to Reuter's Agency, which it would not be customary to disclose. The unit has a staff of six, two of whom work in Forcereuter. These numbers have not fluctuated during the last few years. I consider that this service is of value to our Forces abroad.