asked the Lord President of the Council whether having regard to the financial crisis with which this country is at present faced, and with a view to curtailing expenses, he will consider reducing the size of and decreasing the expenditure on, the Central Office of Information forthwith, by retaining only such part of the organisation as relates to reference libraries and other records of public value.
No, Sir, but the expenditure on Government Information Services is under constant review and, as the hon. Member is aware, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer appointed a Committee in November last to examine the cost of the Home Information Services and to make recommendations as to any direction in which economies may be desirable or the organisation may be improved.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the widespread and ever-increasing apprehension of the public at public money being spent on public relations officers at enormous cost to the taxpayer? Surely, this is a tied house for Government propaganda, and really the right hon. Gentleman ought not to be so very dictatorial. He always says that he is a good democrat: let him show it.
I did not notice anything dictatorial, but since the hon. Gentleman wishes to get some rather ill-informed emotion expressed, I suggest that he writes to the Beaverbrook Press about it. They are sure to publish it.
Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will see me about it afterwards.
Can the Lord President of the Council indicate when this Committee is likely to report?
No, Sir, but I do not think that it will be very long.