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Newsprint Rationing

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 10 May 1949

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asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that provincial newspapers with page sizes above 250 square inches are being penalised by the current regulations of the Newsprint Division of his Department; and whether, with a view to righting an anomaly, he will now consider rationing paper to such concerns on a. basis not of pages as such but of Demy equivalent.

The present basis of newsprint rationing which has been in force since 1940 does not distinguish between provincial and other newspapers, and I am unable to accept the suggestion in the first part of the Question. Rationing on a Demy equivalent basis would be much more difficult to administer than the present scheme, and I am not aware that there is any considerable body of opinion in the trade which would welcome the change.

Is not the President aware that during the war a large number of these smaller newspapers agreed to reduce the size of their pages and that the size of the page was then frozen by the Board of Trade? Since then increases have been made on a page basis, and surely that is very unfair?

No, Sir, it was not frozen by the Board of Trade but was dealt with by the Newsprint Rationing Committee. I agree that, whatever the size for rationing, it would have created anomalies and hardship in that particular size.