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Paper Allocation

Volume 440: debated on Thursday 17 July 1947

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asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the hon. Member for Solihull, in common with other hon. Members, has received prospectuses and trade circulars from Messrs. Hancock and Company, Limited, relating to birth control and kindred matters amounting to approximately 45 pages; that one of these enclosures states that the firm in question was now able to supply the enclosed, thanks to partial release by the Paper Control; how much paper has been allocated to this firm for this purpose; and whether he will take steps to prevent similar waste of paper in the form of unsolicited business circulars.

Under the provisions of the Paper Control Orders any person may gratuitously distribute a limited quantity of paper for advertising circulars, but according to the records of the Paper Control no paper has been specifically licensed for the circulars to which the hon. Member refers.

Does not the Minister think it is desirable to stop this waste of paper? Could it not easily be done by limiting this class of circular either to previous customers or to recipients within certain age groups?

It is difficult to censor the distribution of industrial literature of this type, but there is a very stringent limitation on the quantity that can be used.

Can the Minister tell us if this firm has anything to do with the publication of that filthy book "Forever Amber"?


asked the President of the Board of Trade when he anticipates being able to make a complete review of the paper allocations for all purposes so that the greater interests of essential technical publications, education, and periodical and book production for export, also other vital national needs, receive a higher allocation than literature, bill posting, etc., which are of less vital need to the national recovery.

The allocations of paper for the different usages are regularly reviewed at four-monthly intervals. The next review will take place in about three months' time.

Does not my right hon. and learned Friend think that, in spite of difficulties, such as the discriminatory policy in the allocation of paper, it would be possible for him to agree to a list of priorities, so as to assist the making of books for export, particularly educational books, instead of the trashy sort of publication now appearing on the bookstalls, and apparently increasing?

There is discrimination in this sense, that books are getting 80 per cent, prewar, whereas posters and advertising matters only have 10 per cent.

In making the next review of the allocation of paper, would my right hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that only 15 per cent. of the export orders for books from this country can be met?

Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman think that there ought to be a far more severe limitation of paper for football pools in this country?


asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will add a representative of the Library Association to the committee responsible for the allocation of paper.

I assume that the hon. Member refers to the Committee which advises the Board of Trade on the distribution of the Special Reserve for books. This Committee, which sits under an independent chairman, consists of publishers, and I do not consider it would be advisable to add to its membership representatives of other organisations concerned with books. The Committee is, however, always glad to receive representations from the Library Association, or any other body, in respect of any particular book which is under consideration and in which they are interested.

In view of the fact that the Library Association represents more readers in this country than any other body and therefore has a special interest, could not the matter be given further consideration?

I am afraid not. There would be so many applicants who would think that they also are entitled to be on the Committee.