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Government Information Services

Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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45.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement of the Government's policy as regards the Central Information Office and their activities connected with Press propaganda, television and broadcasting; and who is the appropriate Minister co-ordinating these activities.

I explained the arrangements in my statement to the House on 7th March, 1946. There has been no change since then in the machinery which I then described and which remains under the general supervision of my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council on behalf of the Cabinet.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us where this Information Office really starts, where it ends, what is in the middle of it, and who is at the head of it? Is it not possible, with the vast number of public relations officers attached to the Departments, to cover all this work without duplicating it, in view of the needless expense which the taxpayers will have to pay?

That is a kind of omnibus question. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will separate it into its different parts.

Are the numbers employed by the Central Office of Information the same as those who were employed by the Ministry of Information, or more?

I suggest that the hon. Gentleman puts down the Question. Obviously I cannot answer it off-hand.

Is this Department responsible for the reports to the nation which appear in the newspapers, and is he aware that they contain statements which are highly controversial, and very doubtful economics; and is it not wrong to carry out Socialist propaganda with the taxpayers' money?