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Volume 530: debated on Monday 19 July 1954

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asked the Minister of State, Board of Trade, as representing the Minister of Materials, whether, as the result of his further discussions with representatives of the newspapers, he will announce when newsprint rationing will end.

My noble Friend has nothing at present to add to the reply which I gave on his behalf to the Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) on 31st May. His discussions with the representatives of the newspapers are still going on.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the prospects of decontrol in 1955 are much less favourable by reason of the fact that producers are unable to produce the extra 50,000 tons required? In those circumstances, will the right hon. Gentleman now sanction the purchase of additional newsprint from Canadian or Scandinavian sources instead of hanging on to the control like grim death?

I assure the hon. and gallant Member that we are not hanging on like grim death, but are looking forward to the day when we can get rid of these last controls. Unfortunately, one of the new machines which we reckoned on being started in this country in the very near future will be delayed a little. I cannot add anything to what my noble Friend said the other day, that in existing circumstances, and bearing in mind balance of payments and supply difficulties, he did not see much chance of authorising more than the 100,000 additional tons authorised for next year.

As there is so much rubbish in the newspapers these days, especially Sunday papers, will the hon. Gentleman be careful about spending dollars in this way?