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Public Lending Right

Volume 885: debated on Tuesday 4 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he can now give a date when he will introduce the promised Bill to create a public lending right for authors.

A Bill is being prepared with a view to its early introduction.

Although I welcome that rather vague statement from the Under-Secretary, may I ask him to reiterate the pledge which was given in the Queen's Speech and which was made by him that a Bill would be introduced this Session? Will he also say whether he intends to keep his electoral pledge that £5 million would be made available from the Exchequer to right this longstanding injustice to authors?

In answer to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, yes, Sir. As for the second part, there was no electoral pledge and, there fore, I have nothing to reiterate.

My hon. Friend will remember that

"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick."
In these circumstances will he speed the elementary act of justice which was not only mentioned in the Queen's Speech but foreshadowed in the Labour Party manifesto?

I have had several consultations with the authors, their representatives and all the various interested organisations, and I am aware of the views which my hon. Friend mentioned. The proposal which I shall bring forward shortly will take account of all these and various other matters as well.