HC Deb 10 March 1881 vol 259 cc711-2

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether his attention has been called to the statement in the Report of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, that The rates allowed to Messrs. Hansard for printing for the House of Commons are 15 per cent. higher than the rates allowed for printing for the House of Lords, and are higher than your Lordships would probably have felt justified in granting, had not Messrs. Hansard claimed special consideration on the ground that they had for more than 100 years held the office of Printer to the House, and satisfied your Lordships and Mr. Speaker that it would be very difficult for them, without alterations in their staff which could not easily be made at once, to continue the business if required to do so at rates approaching those which might be obtained in the open market; and, whether Messrs. Hansards' "exceptionally high rates" have yet been sufficiently lowered as to compare favourably with rates in the open market?


Sir, the additional percentage paid to Messrs. Hansard was allowed in consideration of the difference in the nature of the work done for the two Houses, that for the House of Commons having to be executed to some extent under circumstances of greater pressure, and therefore at greater expense. This difference has been recognized by Select Committees of the House, such as the Select Committee on Public Departments in 1874. The present arrangement effects a reduction of above 20 per cent upon the rates previously paid to Messrs. Hansard, besides simplifying their accounts and assimilating them to those of the House of Lords' printers. It will not expire until 1896, the year in which the contract for the House of Lords also expires; and we are not therefore in a position at present to consider the possibility of further economy.