asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he will give the average number of letters received by Ministers from Members of the House weekly; and whether adequate staffs are at the disposal of the Ministers to deal promptly and satisfactorily with Members' correspondence.
I regret that no figures are available, but the number is very substantial. My hon. Friend is no doubt aware of present staffing difficulties, but I am sure that in all Departments every effort is made to reply promptly.
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that the object of the Question is a desire, which is shared by all hon. Members, to assist the Departments concerned, and that the precise information asked for in the Question would do a great deal to help the Government and hon. Members?
Will the Minister ask some of his colleagues whether they can give us something better than the very scrappy acknowledgment they send?
I do not know what I can do about it. I have no doubt that other Ministers read Hansard, or that someone in their Departments reads it, and I have not the slightest doubt that the point made by my hon. Friend will come to their attention.
Does my hon. Friend realise that one can wait two months for an answer if one gets a nicely written acknowledgment?
Is the Minister aware that I have had to send a letter back because of its bureaucratic character and its complete lack of humanity?