asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why he refuses to give information about hospital waiting lists to hon. Members ; and when it was decided to answer such questions with the kind of answer given to the hon. Member for Walsall, North on 9 June by the Under-Secretary of State.
The question asked by the hon. Member on 9 June concerned detailed factual information about a particular health authority.—[Vol. 986, c. 68.] Such information is not normally available centrally, and to give it would require the Department to go to the health authority for the facts and then to pass them on to the hon. Member. The course adopted in this case and other similar ones is in line with the Government's policy that inquiries should be handled at the appropriate level, and that the role of central Government should be reduced. This will reduce administration and cut costs.