The Rushden Echo, 12th November 1965, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Newsboy Shortage - Newsagents worried over rising costs
The morning newspaper, as much a part of the breakfast table as the marmalade pot, is in danger of being left unread until lunchtime at Rushden and Higham Ferrers.
Some of the boys & girl
Newsagents may find they will have to stop their delivery services to some parts unless they can find a way of overcoming a shortage of newspaper boys.
Newsagents John Coleman and Barry Thomas said: “It has been getting more difficult each year to get paperboys.”
Mr. Coleman needs six more to cope with his Rushden deliveries and at Higham Ferrers he is “just managing,” but has no reserves.
‘A Lot Worse’
“The situation is going to get a lot worse,” said Mr. Thomas, who has 26 boys delivering for him. He is trying to get over the shortage by offering the job to old-age pensioners. “I think we are not going to get the boys anymore,” he said.
Both he and Mr. Coleman attribute the shortage in part to a general feeling of affluence. “They don’t need the money anymore,” was a comment from both.
Mr. E. A. Garner, who delivers about the same number of papers as Mr. Thomas, has not suffered from the shortage to the same extent as his rivals.
“There are just not enough boys to go round,” he said, and he criticised the uneconomic use of paper boys in the town. He thought other newsagents had brought the shortage upon themselves by trying to serve too many areas.
He thought some kind of demarcation of service between newsagents was needed in the out-of-the-way areas. This would prevent duplication.
Mr. Thomas and Mr. Coleman agreed but thought that although it was partly the answer, it would never work. “You have to take the customer into consideration,” said Mr. Coleman.
He proposed that a central warehouse for newspaper distribution should be set up in Rushden. Newsagents would take turns to man it and the same delivery boys would be used by all of them. Ideally, he thought this would solve many problems, including newsagents’ holidays.
Newsagents agreed that inevitably delivery charges would have to go up from the three-pence a week now charged. “It is ninety-nine per cent certain that the charges will go up by at least 6d in the next year,” said Mr. Thomas.
“I don’t want to advocate higher charges, but every one of us is delving into our profits to pay for delivery,” said Mr. Garner.
Two alternative ideas have been proposed by Mr. Thomas to ensure a service to the customer. The first is that every paper should have two prices, one for sale over the counter and the other if delivered; the other differentiated delivery charge, say 3d for a morning paper, 5d for morning and evening deliveries and sixpence for Sundays as well.