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Elections (Paper Supplies)

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 22 March 1951

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37 and 38.

asked the President of the Board of Trade (1) what stock of paper is held available for candidates' literature in the event of a general election; and if he will give an assurance that such a stock is available at the present time;

(2) if he will take steps to ensure that there is sufficient paper available for candidates' literature in the forthcoming municipal elections.

40.

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to ensure that adequate supplies of paper are available to all candidates in the municipal elections next May.

As explained in the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, Central (Mr. Awbery) on 20th March, arrangements have been made with the paper and printing trades for preferential treatment to be given, under the voluntary priority scheme for paper and boards, to the requirements of all political parties for both national and local elections. The trade organisations concerned have recently been reminded of the importance of this matter, and assurances of their co-operation have since been received. In these circumstances, I consider it unnecessary to earmark special stocks of paper for this purpose, but it is most important that the trade should see that these needs are met. Hon. Members may rest assured that we shall continue to watch the position very closely.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the House an assurance that he will keep the matter under continuous review, in view of the fact that the paper might be required at any time now? Can he further say whether representations have been made to the trade organisations in regard to paper for the municipal elections, and whether he received any information from Wembley about the difficulties they experienced in getting paper for the municipal election?

I am not aware of any representations from Wembley, but I will inquire whether there were any. As regards both municipal and national elections, that is a matter which is being kept very closely under review so far as paper supplies are concerned.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether sufficient paper will be made available to wrap up all the red herrings which the Opposition are preparing for the next election?