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Colonel N. G. SCORGIE (Deputy-Controller of His Majesty's Stationery Office) called; and examined.

Chairman.

571. In the absence of Mr. Codling, through illness, you will give evidence on, first, the automatic distribution of Parliamentary Papers to Government Departments? Yes. 47 circulars were sent out, as the Committee know. With reference to the automatic distribution of Parliamentary Papers, at the last meeting, 17 replies had been received and now all the replies are in. It can be summarised in this way: 32 Departments agree to some reduction, six Departments are willing to discontinue the automatic supply altogether, and nine Departments wish to continue the present arrangement. But I think, perhaps, I had better explain that those figures in themselves do not really give a very true idea of the position, because although the Committee, I believe, was dealing primarily with House of Commons papers, the circular, as you know, referred to three classes of papers, House of Commons papers, Bills, and Command papers. It happens that those Departments which are willing to discontinue the automatic supply and those Departments which are desirous of continuing the present arrangements are mainly those which have Bills only; they are mainly legal Departments; so that I think I could give a better idea of what the actual economic effect of the circular is by treating the three classes of Papers separately. The position with regard to House of Commons Papers was that the circular affected 45 complete sets, and the position now is that only 4 of those sets are desired completely, and in other cases the Departments will take a selection of Papers which amounts to rather less than 50 per cent. of what they have been having

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before. In the case of Command Papers the Departments circularised were taking 40 complete sets and those will all be discontinued now with the exception of five, and the general result is that almost exactly 50 per cent. of the Papers will be taken in future of those which were taken in the past.

572. Will you repeat that?-The Circular applied to 40 complete sets. 573. Now there will only be five?-Yes, complete sets.

574. And rather less than 50 per cent, of what they had before?-In this case almost exactly 50 per cent. of the Papers. In the case of Bills the reduction we have achieved is very much less. It is about 30 per cent. in the case of House of Commons Bills and about 20 per cent. in the case of the House of Lords Bills, but, as I said at the beginning, the Departments taking Bills are mostly legal Departments, and there is not much doubt that they want them.

575. That covers your Report on No. 1? -Yes.

576. I mean it finishes what you have to say?-Yes.

Mr. Naylor.

577. May we have the names of the four Departments which are still requiring complete sets?—Yes. The Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Health, the Post Office, and the First Lord of the Treasury.

578. And the same with the second sets, the Parliamentary Papers?-Those are the four requiring House of Commons Papers. Then the five who are requiring Command Papers are the same

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7th December, 1926.]

Colonel N. G. SCORGIE.

four, with the addition of the Foreign Office for their News department.

579. I presume that the reduction in the number of issues has been determined after consideration by the different Departments who have agreed to that reduction?-Yes.

580. That is, that they can dispense with 50 per cent. of what they had before? -It has been determined by each Department individually. We put to them in the circular the question whether they could dispense with any or all of those papers and we made a list of the classes into which Command Papers fall and the classes into which House of Commons Papers fall, and they have given replies which we have tabulated, and that statement I made that the reduction amounts to 50 per cent. is an average.

581. An average of 50 per cent. ?-Yes. 582. I do not think you particularised as to which Departments had reduced their demands for Bills. I suppose no Department has decided not to apply for any Bills?—Yes. There are certain Departments which are prepared to discontinue the automatic supply of Bills. I take it that they will apply for such Bills as they find they want. The Judge Advocate-General, for instance, is prepared to dispense with the automatic supply, the Postmaster-General is, the Board of Control is; those seem to be all cases of people who hardly ever needed them.

Chairman.] Now No. 2, Periodical Publications. We have before us specimens of the periodicals. The first one you deal with is the London Gazette.

Mr. Naylor.] May I put a preliminary question, Mr. Chairman? Chairman.] Yes.

Mr. Naylor.

583. Looking over these Publications, I gather that the object of the issue is not so much a matter of profit and loss in actual cost and revenue but rather to meet the requirements of certain Departments. Would you agree with that?Yes. There is not one, with the exception of the London Gazette, which the Stationery Office as a publisher would wish to be responsible for on a commercial basis. They are all departmental papers for the general information of the public or special classes of the public, and for the dissemination of information which has been collected, in some cases, at considerable cost, and, presumably, in

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the public interest. But the London Gazette is the only one which is in the nature of a profitable commercial undertaking.

Mr. Ramsden.

584. What about the Board of Trade Journal; their total is £6,084, and the total gross revenue is £9,497. Does that mean that there is actually a profit?Yes. There is, I think, a profit on the Board of Trade Journal. It is not possible for us to say definitely because these figures do not take into account any of the cost of compilation, the editing of the publication in the Department of origin.

585. These costs are only the printing costs? The Stationery Office costs of printing and selling.

586. The editor of the Board of Trade Journal, I believe, lives at the Board of Trade?-Yes. There is, I understand, an editorial staff there.

587. And, of course, we do not know the cost of the editorial staff, so we cannot say whether this is a profit?-I think it can be fairly said that the Board of Trade Journal does pay its way.

588. Do those figures include all the usual overhead charges which you would add to the cost in a business?—Yes.

589. Depreciation of machinery and interest on capital?-The cost of printing is the actual charge which we pay for the printing, plus the ordinary overhead percentage for Stationery Office expenses. On the other hand, the revenue from sales is calculated as the net revenue, after making allowance for our selling ex

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Chairman.

596. In the next year you had the full amount? The next year was all right.

Mr. Ramsden.

597. Could we find out from the Board of Trade what actually are the editorial costs? Yes.

Chairman.

598. It would be interesting to know in each case, would it not?—Yes.

Mr. Ramsden.] I think it would myself.

Mr. Naylor.

599. May I ask whether an actual editor is appointed for each publication, and whether it is his duty to edit the publication, or is it a matter of departmental work?-There is, we know, a definite editor for the Board of Trade Journal. I do not think there is for any of the other publications; it falls on one of the officials of the Department, who is not specifically called the editor.

600. Are you quite certain that that does not apply to the Board of Trade Journal? I am certain there is a definite editor appointed and paid as an editor.

601. Would it be an outside man?-He was a journalist when he was appointed. He was, I think, late Editor of the Glasgow Herald," Mr. Harcourt Kitchin.

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C02. And he is brought into the establishment?-Yes.

Mr. Ramsden.

603. With regard to the "London Gazette," the publication on which you do quite obviously make a very large profit, that is purely and simply owing to the fact that people are compelled to insert advertisements in it. Is not that so? That is so. Most of the profit, as you will see, arises from the revenue from advertisements.

604. Compulsory advertisements?-The advertisements are compulsory.

Chairman.] Will it be the wish of the Committee that the Stationery Office

ascertain for our next meeting the editorial cost in the various Departments? Mr. Ramsden.] Should not we do that ourselves by the Clerk of the Committee? Chairman.] We will arrange to ask the Clerk of the Committee to find that out. I will ask him to do so.

Mr. Ramsden.

605. What system do you have of collecting advertisements?-In the case of ordinary commercial advertisementsthat is to say, not these statutory advertisements that appear in the London Gazette"; there are no commercial advertisements in the "London Gazette"; I am talking now of the other seven publications apart from the "London Gazette "the usual practice is to put out the advertisement contract to tender among advertising agents and to accept the most favourable tender received. The periods usually given for the advertising contract are from three to five years. According to the tender the Stationery Office may get a percentage of the gross receipts, and there may also be a minimum guarantee even though the contractor does not succeed in getting the specified number of advertisements. In the case of the Board of Trade Journal, at present advertisements are being obtained directly by the Stationery Office. The explanation of that was that when the late contractor defaulted and the contract was put up to tender again, the offers received were so small that it was thought better and more profitable to do the work directly, and that has been continued up to the present time. 606. There are not many advertisements in the Board of Trade Journal now, are there?—No, and unfortunately you will notice that advertisements revenue for nearly all these publications has been going down for the last year or two. The explanation of that would appear to be the unfortunate state of trade lately. There are signs now of a revival.

Mr. Burman.

607. Would it not possibly be due to the very small circulation of these papers? That would account for the small total, but it would hardly account for a decline of revenue, would it?

608. No, I see that. Except in the case of the "Marine Observer "; there the first year represents the first year of a new publication, and there is not the slightest doubt that the original contractor took it and undertook to

7th December, 1926.]

Colonel N. G. SCORGIE.

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611. With regard to advertisements from Government Departments, do they pay the usual rates charged to ordinary advertisers?-I am not sure to what the Hon. Member is actually referring.

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612. "The Board of Trade Journal of the 29th July, the second page of advertisements: The Commissioners of Customs and Excise invite tenders," and then there is an advertisement underneath "For sale 25-30 H.P. Crossley Tender."-So far as I know those are al! put in at the ordinary rate, but I could not be sure of that.

613. May we know what the other Departments pay, and at what rate they charged for advertisements, which appear not only in the "Board of Trade Journal, but in the other Government publications, or are debited, whichever may be the case?-Yes.

Mr. Burman.

614. The advertisement rates would vary for different journals?—Yes.

615. And are those rates fixed by the Department or by an advertisement contractor? The charges for advertisements are fixed by the advertising contractor, but he generally consults us as to the sort of price that he should ask per page

Mr. Naylor.

616. In the case of the "Board of Trade Journal," I think you said you

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had a man specially appointed to canvass for advertisements?-Yes.

617. So that he canvasses those Departments and charges the usual rate, I take it? Oh, no. The Committee may be absolutely certain on that point, that we do not encourage a man to canvass Departments merely for the purpose of putting money from one pocket into another; and in the case of a contractor I can say quite definitely that as regards those journals in which the advertisement contract is in the hands of a contractor no commission is paid to the contractor in respect of any Government advertisement.

618. How would those Government advertisements be received-I think probably with the "Board of Trade Journal" it was the case that there was a fill-up half page, and we were prepared to take these Government advertisements rather than leave the column idle.

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622. With regard to the periodicals on which there is a loss shown in the return, have you considered the advisability of increasing the charge? Take the first one, the "Marine Observer," total cost £1,152; Gross Total Combined Revenue, £556?-In the case of every one of these we have quite frequently considered the question of increasing the price, and it really all comes down to the question of what one anticipates one will be able to get from the public, and unfortunately the sales of the "Marine Observer" are going down, and there does not seem to us any likelihood that we should do better for the Revenue by increasing the price. The one notable case is the "Labour Gazette," where it was priced at the ridiculously low figure of 1d., and that was raised a few years ago to 6d., and the result was satisfactory from the revenue point of view.

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625. Is there any reason advertisements should not be extended? For instance, in the case of the "Labour Gazette,' ," they are simply confined to Government contractors. Would it not be possible to secure additional advertisements which bring in greater revenue. and similarly with regard to some of the other publications?-I do not think that, as far as the "Ministry of Labour Gazette " is concerned, advertisements are necessarily restricted to Government contractors. I think it happens to be that Government contractors like to go under that heading, but as far as the Stationery Office is concerned, we are very anxious to increase the scope of the advertisements. Any restriction always comes from the Department of origin. For instance, in the case of the "Board of Trade Journal," we are not allowed to advertise any foreign goods or any foreign firm.

Mr. Looker.] But if you wanted to increase your advertisements, for the sako of example in the " Ministry of Labour Gazette, "what is the avenue which you would adopt to try and get an increase?

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628. Can you intimate to whom you propose to accept that if the revenue does not show an expansion he must be prepared for a termination of the contract in due time?—Yes, but it would be a difficult form of intimation to put into words that would have any legal effect, I think.

629. It would only be an intimation of intention?-Oh certainly, that could be dene, without question.

Chairman.

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630. Is it wise to add another duty to an already very busy Department? should have thought that there would have been a better chance really to have got the most favourable results from the advertisement contractors. It is a little puzzling why it is not so?-That is a point which has given us very great food for thought. At first the Stationery Office was itself quite definitely opposed to obtaining advertisements by direct labour because of the difficulties of bringing advertising canvassing within the Civil Service system and within the Civil Service method of payment. But when the "Board of Trade Journal" contractor defaulted he had so depreciated the value of the property that we got these absurdly small tenders from other contractors and it seemel to be the only thing to do, to take it over temporarily in order, if possible, to improve the value of the property and then put it out again to tender in the open market. At the same time we also took on one or two other things, not periodical publications but separate official publications, for which outside contractors were not prepared to make any offer and the results were surprisingly good, by the use of direct labour.

Mr. Ramsden.

631. What example can you give of that? The Overseas Trade. I will give you an instance. For example, in the Report on Chili in the Department of Overseas Trade series, 35 pages were secured by direct canvassing against three pages secured by the contractor in the previous year.

Mr. Naylor.

632. Have you ever called for an explanation as to why the advertisement contractors have not done better with the "Ministry of Labour Gazette," and had

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