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Record Copies of Acts

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:46 pm on 20th April 2016.

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Photo of Paul Beresford Paul Beresford Chair, Administration Committee 5:46 pm, 20th April 2016

I have not had words with the Chief Rabbi, but I can assure my hon. Friend that we have made inquiries and we are just one of the contracts for this particular contractor. If we stopped using him, his profits would go down but he would not close.

During these complex discussions, the Minister for the Cabinet Office came along with his chequebook. I was surprised, as someone who has enthusiastically endorsed his admirable policies on cutting out waste, reducing red tape and improving Government efficiency. His Department believes that we should be “digital by default”, but that is a little different from what he is now talking about. A similar approach has been taken by the House; we also have everything digitised.

However, it is a legal requirement that quality prints of the original Acts be certified by the Clerk of the Parliaments in the House of Lords—the legal authority. Moreover, most modern Acts of Parliament are brought into force by statutory instruments at some point after receiving Royal Assent, and no statutory instruments are printed on vellum. The relevant information is available digitally.

I have huge respect for the Minister’s campaign, as he is aware. I must point out that we digitally store the Acts, and that he has ensured that if anything were to happen to the paper or vellum archive, the Acts could be reprinted.