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Newsprint (Weekly Newspapers)

Volume 466: debated on Thursday 7 July 1949

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asked the President of the Board of Trade why it is permissible for a weekly newspaper to print nine pages of 405 square inches, whereas it is not permissible to print the equivalent area in pages of 305 square inches; and if he will take action to end this anomaly.

The detailed administration of the rationing of newsprint for newspapers is in the hands of the Newsprint Rationing Committee, which is composed of representatives of the newspaper publishers themselves. The committee have, with the approval of the Board of Trade, established the maximum number of pages for all types of newspaper. The maximum number of pages for a weekly newspaper of page size exceeding 250 square inches and selling at 2d. is nine, and this is not affected by any variation in the page size above 250 square inches.

Would my right hon. Friend consider giving a direction to this committee about the special case that has been put to him? Is he aware that when a newspaper cannot use the concession to revert to its pre-war page size, it has no means of taking advantage of the additional supply of paper that is being granted? Will my right hon. Friend consider making a concession on this point?

I am sure my hon. Friend will realise that the difficulty about this is that some size has to be fixed to differentiate one group from another and, whatever size is fixed, it will cause hardship. I will look into the question of reversion to an earlier size.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the point in this case is, that where a newspaper has changed its plant and cannot revert to its pre-war page size, it cannot get any advantage from the paper supply? Will he consider this as an exceptional case?