HC Deb 16 March 1896 vol 38 cc999-1000

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he will state the total amount paid in the last financial year by the Government of Great Britain and Ireland for printing, binding, lithographing, and stationery, including printing of postage and other stamps?


If my hon. Friend will refer to page 189 of the Appropriation Accounts, just issued, he will see that the total expenditure of the Stationery Office during the last financial year upon printing, binding, stationery, and incidental services was £445,447. This does not include the cost of salaries, police, paper for public Departments, and grants of Parliamentary Papers for free libraries, which amounted to £181,176 more. The cost of printing postage and other stamps amounted to £124, 143. Besides these amounts, the Foreign Office have a printer at £150 a-year and a printer's reader at £104, 1he Commissioners of National Education in Ireland have a grant of about £30,000 a-year for paper, printing and binding of school books, and purchasing other school requisites, and various other departments spend small sums on their own account upon binding and sewing; but I think my hon. Friend will find the figures I have mentioned sufficient for all practical purposes.


I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the Government Printing Office of Sydney, New South Wales, performs all Government work for that colony, including printing, binding, lithographing of maps and plans, printing of postage stamps and railway tickets, printing Hansard, &c., to the satisfaction of all concerned; and that there is a similar Government Printing Office in Washington; and whether any other Government in the world beside our own has its printing done by contract, or is without a Government printing office?


also asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he would consent to the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire whether it would be advisable to establish a Government Printing Office?


I am afraid I have no information as to Sydney, and the Stationery Office is not aware whether England stands alone in doing its printing through contractors. As regards Washington, I am told that the American Government printing costs a great deal more, book for book, than the British Government printing, and that the American Public Printer, in his report on the year ending June 30, 1894, felt it necessary to apologise for "frequent complaints from the various departments of the Government regarding delayed work." I must point out to my hon. Friend that, if the House had desired an Inquiry to be held as to whether it would be advisable to establish a Government Printing Office, it would probably have included the subject in the reference to the Committee now sitting. My hon. Friend's attitude towards the Post Office has certainly given me the impression that, in his opinion at least, work is better done in private establishments than in public.

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