SECOND REPORT FROM THE SELECT COMMITTEE
ON THE HOUSE OF LORDS' OFFICES
Tuesday 25th May 1999
appointed to consider the House of Lords' Offices
The Committee have met and been attended by
the Clerk of the Parliaments and the Gentleman Usher of the Black
1. Record Copies of Acts
The Committee recommends that the record copies
of Acts of Parliament, kept in the House of Lords Record Office,
should be printed on archival paper instead of vellum, with effect
from the first Act of the year 2000. With the agreement of the
Master of the Rolls and the Keeper of the Public Records, the
production of the second record copy of each Act for the Public
Record Office should cease.
When the Parliament Rolls of Acts of Parliament
were discontinued in 1849, it was resolved by both Houses that
two copies of every Act, whether Public or Private, should be
printed on vellum, one to be stored in the Record Tower (now the
House of Lords Record Office) and the other with the Master of
the Rolls (now the Public Record Office). The former copy is authenticated
by the Clerk of the Parliaments as the official authority for
the published text of an Act. In 1956 vellum was replaced by archival
paper for Private Acts. The increasing scarcity and expense of
vellum and the printing constraints which it imposes have now
led to the proposal that Public Acts should be similarly treated.
On the advice of conservation experts at the
British Library, archival paper has been identified with a proven
life expectancy of 250 years and a probable life expectancy exceeding
500 years in good archival conditions. It is superior to vellum
for print quality, is less bulky, and avoids the use of animal
products. The value of the potential saving is about £30,000
Resolutions of both Houses would be needed to
give effect to this recommendation. The Committee has been informed
that a comparable recommendation is being made by the Administration
Committee of the House of Commons.
2. Smoking in the House of Lords
Following the Report of the Informal Group on
Smoking (copies of which are available in the Printed Paper Office
and the Library of the House), the Committee makes the following
(i) Smoking should be banned in lavatories
and telephone kiosks;
(ii) Smoking should be banned in Committee
rooms, unless, at a private meeting of a Committee, that Committee
specifically gives permission at the time.
3. Lords Reimbursement Allowances
The Committee was informed that from 1st April
1999 the motor mileage allowance had been increased by 1.1 pence
to 51.2 pence for the first 20,000 miles for the period to 31st
March 2000. Further mileage in this period would be payable at
the rate of 23.6 pence per mile.
The Committee was further informed that from
1st April 1999 the bicycle allowance had been increased by 0.1
pence to 6.5 pence per mile.
4. House of Lords Families Room
The Committee welcomes the provision of a room
for the use of immediate family members of Peers. The Room is
not intended to be used as a work or meeting room. It is to be
a no smoking area.