HC Deb 14 April 1980 vol 982 cc782-3
29. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what consideration he is giving, in the light of the Services Committee's deliberations, to the availability of recycled paper in the House for those who wish to make use of it.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas)

The Services Committee is always ready to receive suggestions regarding the use of recycled papers for House stationery, provided that the criteria of cost, quality and general suitability can be met. Her Majesty's Stationery Office continues to look for suitable recycled papers and any that it recommends will be carefully considered by the Committee. I regret, however, that limitations on the storage facilities available in the Palace of Westminster preclude stocking a wider choice of ranges of stationery. Other items of stationery used in the House are standard Civil Service quality supplies which contain as much recycled fibre as can practicably be included.

Mr. Dalyell

Is that not a somewhat standard Civil Service answer? Why do we send each other the most ephemeral notes on the best and extremely costly manilla paper? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that even such a small example by the House of Commons would be worth any number of eloquent speeches on conservation?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I find it difficult to be eloquent on the subject of stationery. It is in accordance with the dignity of this House that correspondence should be on reasonable paper. We considered using recycled paper for memos, but the suggestion was rejected because it would have been more expensive than the paper being used.

Mr. Rost

Would it not be preferable to "decycle" by reducing the official bumf that circulates around Whitehall, Westminster and the entire nation?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I thoroughly agree. However, the fault lies not with the stationery, of whatever quality, but with the regrettable invention of the photocopying machine.