The Government is Set to Save £80,000 a Year by Not Printing Laws on Vellum

By Tom Pritchard on at

For centuries our government has been printing new laws on Vellum, a parchment made from calf skin. That tradition is ending in April, and it's set to save the government £80,000 in the process.

Instead, new laws will be printed on high quality paper, though the move has been met with some opposition. For starters, laws printed on vellum last for around 5,000 years, rather than the 500 years offered by the new paper. Sharon Hodgson, a Labour MP, has also pointed out that historical documents like the Magna Carta have lasted for centuries thanks to being printed on vellum, meaning "future generations can appreciate and understand our shared history."

She also made a point of mentioning that MPs were promised a vote before any decision on the continued use of vellum documents was made. Because how laws are documented is a fantasticly important discussion that politicians should spend many hours arguing about.

The argument isn't exactly a new development either. 16 years ago a similar ruling was made by the House of Lords, though it was rejected by the Commons at the time. Now it seems as though that same ruling is being used to make the decision now, without involving any of the MPs in the House of Commons. This is, it seems, due to a piece of legislation from the 19th Century that grants the Lords the power to decide how Parliamentary legislation is recorded.

Should new laws be written on calf parchment? Does it really matter in the long run? I can't see many people wanting to keep the Snooper' Charter safe for future generations to enjoy, after all.

[The Telegraph via The Guardian]

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