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"Coal" (Paper Supply)

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 6 May 1947

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asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how much paper has been put by His Majesty's Stationery Office at the disposal of the National Coal Board for the purpose of the latter's forthcoming publication, "Coal."

Does the right hon. Gentleman justify, at a time when ordinary newspapers are severely restricted, the use of this Government paper for the portrayal inter alia of pictures of young ladies who, however agreeable in appearance, have remarkably little to do with the output of coal?

Can the right hon. Gentleman say who pays for this paper, and who bears the financial responsibility for this journal, and who will meet any deficit, if there is one?

It is issued, I believe, by the National Coal Board. It is only right to say that it has taken the place of a number of house journals which were previously issued by companies. I take it that any loss thereon will be met by the National Coal Board.

Does the right hon. Gentleman really suggest to the House that these house journals, the place of which this publication is said to have taken, indulged in the same sort of political propaganda as this publication does?

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the expenditure on this journal is infinitely more justifiable than the expenditure of money and paper on some of the perpetrations which have been inflicted on a long suffering public by the railway companies and the Road Haulage Association?

Does the right hon. Gentleman consider it equitable that what he admits to be an officially subsidised paper should compete for advertisements with ordinary commercial publications?

Quite frankly, many of these questions do not arise out of the Question on the Order Paper. The National Coal Board is entitled to issue a monthly journal of this kind, if it is so minded. We must assume that it knows what it is doing, and that it will get good value for a periodical of this kind.

I beg to give notice that in view of the complete inadequacy of the reply, I shall seek the earliest opportunity to raise this matter on the Adjournment.