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Her Majesty's Stationery Office (Edinburgh Press)

Volume 32: debated on Wednesday 17 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion of the total printwork of his Department is placed with the Edinburgh press of Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

In 1981–82 the Scottish Office ordered about £900,000 of work, including binding and systems stationery, from HMSO print procurement division. I understand that the division placed about £85.000 of this—about 9½ percent.—with its own press in Edinburgh.

Does the Secretary of State agree that in this instance there is no strike record, that wages have fallen compared with other parts of the printing industry and that the work force has co-operated in productivity agreements? Is he aware that, in spite of that, the workers have been rewarded with less than 10 per cent. of Scottish Office print work? Is it not a clear case of an industrial closure which the Secretary of State and HMSO could avert by ensuring that a reasonable proportion of work from the Scottish Office goes to the Government's one printing press in Scotland?

Printing for the Scottish Office is divided between that which is done within the Scottish Office—an activity which was transferred from HMSO to the Scottish Office recently—and that which is done by HMSO. It up to HMSO, for which my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Treasury is responsible, to allocate work between its factory and elsewhere.

In 1981–82 about £1½ million was spent on Scottish Office printing. About 40 per cent. of that was reprographic work divided between departmental resources in the Scottish Office and HMSO's reprographic unit in Edinburgh. It is up to HMSO whether it puts the work out to private contractors or does the work itself.

Will my right hon. Friend do his best to influence HMSO to ensure that a generous proportion of the 40 per cent. of Scottish Office reprographic printing goes to HMSO printing works in Edinburgh?

All that can be done by our own printing resources is done. Almost all Scottish Office printing not done by our own resources is carried out at printing works in Scotland.

The DHSS has said that it is likely to print a series of leaflets for ethnic minority groups. Therefore, will the Secretary of State ensure that the work is done by Edinburgh printers?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his suggestion. I shall draw it to the attention of my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Treasury, who is responsible for that aspect.

Is it true that the printing of Scottish Office statistics, done in the past by HMSO, now has to be done within the Scottish Office? lf so, is that not disgraceful?

I should have thought that it was rather good. Some HMSO work was transferred to the Scottish Office in Edinburgh, and I think that the Scottish Office welcomed that transfer.