HC Deb 03 June 1991 vol 192 cc17-8
40. Mr. Butler

To ask the Lord President of the Council whether there are any proposals to produce the Official Report on recycled paper.

Mr. MacGregor

This matter was considered by the Accommodation and Administration sub-committee during the previous Session.

The Committee agreed with advice given by Her Majesty's Stationery Office that recycled paper was currently unsuitable for use in producing parliamentary publications, including the Official Report, largely due to the poor archival qualities of this type of paper.

Mr. Butler

I understand the need to retain some Hansards for archival purposes, but most daily reports and most Order Papers are put into the rubbish bin at the end of the day. Is there not a case for reconsidering the use of recycled paper for those parliamentary papers?

Mr. MacGregor

I understand that some libraries use copies of the daily Official Report and other volumes for archival purposes. I take my hon. Friend's point about Vote Papers and Vote bundles. I would guess that they are not used often for archival purposes. I am happy to ask the relevant Committee to take up the matter again and to consider my hon. Friend's suggestion. I am strongly in favour of using recycled paper whenever that is possible.

Mr. Simon Hughes

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that helpful reply, but two further developments would be welcome. First, will he try to ensure that the amount of paper produced in the House—much of which is wasted internally, let alone externally—is reduced? There is considerable scope, especially in view of the amount of paper left at the end of every day and bundled up in the Vote Office.

Secondly, we are to some extent using recycled paper for correspondence. It is only woodcuts—offcuts—not properly recycled paper. Can we go the whole hog and have fully recycled paper?

Mr. MacGregor

I shall see that the hon. Gentleman's point is considered. As for his first, I share his view that wherever possible we should cut down on the amount of paper that we use. I have often thought that we use far too much in the Vote bundle. The Procedure Committee has examined the matter and made some helpful recommendations. I am keen that it should do more, as I suggested when I met the Committee recently.

Most of the paper that goes into the wastepaper baskets in the House is sent for recycling. Nevertheless, I agree that it is our responsibility to cut down on paper whenever possible.