Walker-Smith asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that British authors have great difficulty in securing the payment of royalties due to them in respect of their books published in the Netherlands; and whether he will make appropriate representations designed to improve the situation.
A Dutch Committee approves contracts and allocates exchange, and I do not think that I could make representations to the Dutch Government against this procedure. But British authors would be wise to make sure, before signing contracts, that their Dutch publishers have made suitable arrangements with this committee.
While I am sure that British authors will take note of the cautionary words of the Chancellor, may I ask if he is also aware that considerable sums of sterling are paid to Holland for the printing of British books by Dutch publishers, and could not some clearing arrangement be made so as to enable payment to be made to the British authors?
We will look into that. Of course it is one of the partial solutions to the book shortage, of which we are all conscious, that a certain amount of printing is done in non-dollar countries, and the books brought over here. I do not think we would want to disturb that arrangement, but I will look into the hon. Member's suggestion.