HC Deb 24 November 1980 vol 994 c202
46. Mr. Dubs

asked the Attorney-General what representations he has received about reductions in expenditure at the Public Record Office.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Ian Percival)

The Lord Chancellor and my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General have received approximately 350 letters from Members of this House, organisations and individuals. In addition, representationshave been received from the Advisory Council on Public Records on behalf of users and from the Public Record Office trade union side.

Mr. Dubs

In view of grave concern about the effect of cuts on the Public Record Office, what proposals does the hon. and learned Gentleman have to shelter it from the worst effects of those cuts?

The Solicitor-General

The Lord Chancellor is still considering, and will carefully consider, all the representations that have been made. However, he must consider them in the light of the Government's policy to reduce expenditure on Civil Service manpower.

Sir David Price

Will my hon. and learned Friend and the Lord Chancellor bear in mind that one of the most important functions of the Public Record Office is to make records available to the public? Is he aware that some of the proposals put that at risk?

The Solicitor-General

I assure my hon. Friend that we shall bear that in mind. The Public Record Office has three functions. Its first function is to preserve the records, and there can be no lessening of that duty. Its second function is the selection of records to be preserved, and there can be no relaxation of that. Its third function, which is immensely important, is to make those records available.