National Plan Publication

Oral Answers to Questions — Economic Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th May 1966.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Grant Mr Anthony Grant , Harrow Central 12:00 am, 12th May 1966

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs how many copies of the publication, "Upswing", have been published; to whom it has been circulated; and what was the cost.

Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil

asked the First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs what will be the cost of producing the newspaper, "Upswing", what he estimates its circulation will be; and what are its purposes other than the explanation of the National Plan.

Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton

38,000 copies of "Upswing" were circulated to all branches of industry and trade unions on 24th February. To meet requests arising from this circulation, 112,000 additional copies have since been circulated. Orders are still coming in. The total cost of publishing and circulating the first issue is at present £2,513. The estimated circulation of future issues is 200,000. The estimated cost of producing and distributing six issues on this basis is £13,900. The purpose of "Upswing" is to explain the National Plan and to report on the progress of it.

Photo of Mr Anthony Grant Mr Anthony Grant , Harrow Central

Does the hon. Gentleman recall that, apart from a very unflattering photograph of the First Secretary, this document, published just before the election, is a very thinly disguised propaganda leaflet for the Labour Party and disastrous for the prices and incomes policy itself? Is it not time that this disgraceful waste of public money was stopped?

Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton

That does not appear to be the view of industry. Otherwise, we would not have had such a very substantial number of orders after the election. Out of more than 4,000 replies which we received after publication, only 15 letters were critical, and only a very small proportion of these criticised it as party propaganda.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , St Marylebone

Will the hon. Gentleman consider renaming "Upswing" "Stagnation" in order to correspond more exactly with the actual state of affairs?

Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton

I have no doubt that that sounds very clever and would have sounded even more clever during the course of the General Election. I do not know whether hon. Members opposite want us or do not want us to try to take steps to improve productivity on the shop floor, but this is one of them.

Photo of Mr John Peyton Mr John Peyton , Yeovil

Quite apart from the undesirability of using a magazine like this for party purposes, would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that he is exposing himself to undue danger by having to explain the failure of the National Plan? Would he be good enough to assure the House that if the National Plan has these reverses they will be clearly explained in this paper?

Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton

We are continually being asked to give greater publicity to the National Plan and to national needs. I am certain that as they no longer have responsibility for them right hon. Gentlemen opposite are not interested, but it is our responsibility and we shall continue to discharge it.

Photo of Mr Anthony Grant Mr Anthony Grant , Harrow Central

On a point of order. In view of the very unsatisfactory nature of the Minister's reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.

Photo of Mr William Baxter Mr William Baxter , West Stirlingshire

On a point of order. I understood that you called my name, Mr. Speaker.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Unfortunately, just as I called the hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. W. Baxter) the hon. Member for Harrow, Central (Mr. Grant) used his right to give notice which precludes further questions. It is just unfortunate.

Photo of Mr William Baxter Mr William Baxter , West Stirlingshire

I should like your guidance, Mr. Speaker. As I understand it, once my name has been called I have the right to your ear. I understood that the intervention of another hon. Member, even on a point of order, did not supersede your having called my name.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

I think that there is much in what the hon. Gentleman says. Mr. Baxter.

Photo of Mr William Baxter Mr William Baxter , West Stirlingshire

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. As this seems to be a very important document which is in the possession of some hon. Members, will my hon. Friend see that other hon. Members get a copy of it so that we can intelligently follow the discussions which are now taking place?