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Parliamentary Papers

Volume 127: debated on Friday 12 February 1988

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what expenditure has been incurred on providing computers for use in producing (i) Order Papers and (ii) Amendment Papers for use in Standing Committees of the House; if he is satisfied with the arrangements for training Her Majesty's Stationery Office staff to use such equipment; and if he will make a statement.

The computers employed at the Parliamentary Press form part of an integrated computer typesetting system which is used to produce a wide variety and large volume of parliamentary work — of which Standing Committee Order and Amendment Papers form a part. It would not be possible to identify separately the expenditure on computers associated with production of Standing Committee Papers alone. The training for HMSO staff at the new press compares very favourably with that provided in the printing trade generally.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he proposes to take to improve the punctuality of delivery of (i) Order Papers and (ii) Amendment Papers for use in Standing Committees of the House.

I am advised that there has been no occasion during the current parliamentary Session when Standing Committee proceedings have been delayed owing to lateness of Order or Amendment Papers. These have been made available either in printed form or in typescript, but I am conscious of attendant difficulties. HMSO is making every effort to increase the number of Committees provided with papers in printed form, including the use of outside trade assistance to cope with the quite exceptional volume of parliamentary business.