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Parliamentary Questions (Costs)

Volume 79: debated on Monday 20 May 1985

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what would be the advisory figure at which Ministers might consider whether the expense of a full reply to a parliamentary question was justified if it was increased to retain in real terms the level set in 1982; and if Her Majesty's Government will make it policy to increase the advisory limit to this level.

The advisory figure would need to be revised to around £225 to reflect in real terms the figure of £200 set in 1982. As the costings involved are necessarily approximate, and replies costing more than £200 are in no way automatically debarred, it is not considered necessary to revise the figure at this time.

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will list the costs including overhead costs, taken into account by Ministers when assessing the cost of providing a full reply to a parliamentary question; and if he will make a statement.

The average cost of parliamentary questions is based on the estimated time spent on this work by the various grades of staff involved. The cost is calculated on the basis of average salary costs plus an allowance for overheads such as stationery, telephones and typing.