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Stamps (Design)

Volume 656: debated on Tuesday 27 March 1962

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asked the Postmaster-General what policy governs his choice of the designs of stamps for ordinary use in the United Kingdom.

The basic policy has always been to maintain the Monarch's head as a dominant feature of all our postage stamps. Subject to this, in the choice of individual designs, we are assisted by advice of people of note in the artistic and cultural world.

Would it not be better policy to recognise the art, culture, science and versatility of Britain by depicting on our stamps likenesses of some of our great scientists and poets, like Robert Burns, Bernard Shaw and others? This is done in other countries with profit as well as glory accruing to those countries?

Has my hon. Friend noted that the fact that other countries have many more pictorial issues than we do is a matter of economic advantage to them, since the stamp business is very big internationally? Would it not be wise for the Post Office to reconsider its earlier decision not to issue more pictorial stamps?

It is not altogether a tremendous economic advantage to have too many issues. This devalues the value of the issue. We feel that we have just about the right balance.

Does not the hon. Lady think that a pictorial stamp showing Robert Burns as an Army volunteer, complete with musket, would stimulate recruiting for the Army in Scotland and bring satisfaction to my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes)?