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Beveridge Report

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 24 March 1943

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asked the Minister of Information whether he will make arrangements for speakers on the subject of the provisions of the Beveridge Report to be available to address meetings when so requested?

My hon. Friend's suggestion comes at a time when I am engaged in trying to reduce the activities of the Ministry of Information in providing speakers. The number of meetings addressed by Ministry speakers annually has reached the astonishing figure of 40,000. These meetings are not sought by the Ministry. They are thrust upon us. And we find it very hard to provide suitable speakers. Though I do not suggest that oratory should be rationed, I believe we must show a certain austerity in dealing with suggestions which may add to the labours of our overworked speakers' department.

Is there not a great demand throughout the country for factual information about the Beveridge Report, and would it not be desirable to supply some speakers for this purpose even if the Ministry had to cut out others?

We study demands very carefully, and all I can say is that so far we have not had any great demands addressed to the Ministry, though they may have been made to outside bodies.

Could not those who want factual information obtain it from the Report itself?

That seems a reasonable suggestion, but the passion of the British public for oratory is growing to most monstrous proportions.


asked the Minister of Information whether he will endeavour to make available in this country copies of the plans on social security recently sent to Congress by President Roosevelt in order that they may be compared with the proposals in the Beveridge Report?

I will bring the request to the attention of the United States Office of War Information, whose office in this country is concerned with the distribution of American official publications.