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Government Publications

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what (a) guidance and (b) instructions Her Majesty's Stationery Office follows on the size of margins in Government publications. (113389)

I have been asked to reply.

None. Her Majesty's Stationery Office is itself responsible for the provision of advice to Departments regarding Government publications. For those publications for which it is directly responsible HMSO takes care to ensure that the size of margins are set appropriately for the publication.

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what assessment she has made of (a) the potential cost savings and (b) the environmental impact of reducing the size of margins in official publications. (113390)

I have been asked to reply.

None. Those involved in the design of official publications are encouraged to minimise the cost, the size and the environmental impact of their publications. Her Majesty's Stationery Office will often remind Departments of the need for economy in the production of their publications. The overall aim for any publication, though, must be that it is both readable and accessible to all who will have a need or interest in its content.

The size of margins is one aspect in the design of any publication which will also be affected by the page size, the length of the publication, typeface, typesize and line and paragraph spacing.

Margins may also be affected by the nature of the printing process to be adopted and the size of the publication which will determine whether a larger inside margin is required to allow for binding.

Margins are very important for readers, providing space to hold each page without hiding any of the text and providing a resting spot for a reader's eyes. Long lines of type can also be difficult and tiresome to read. It is very easy for readers to get lost making the transition from the end of one line of text to the beginning of the next. Where lines are lengthened, it is generally necessary to increase the space between lines and the overall result is no saving in paper.