asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will indicate the average time taken by his Department to provide a substantive answer to letters from right hon. and hon. Members during the 12 months period to the latest available date.
[pursuant to his reply, 15 July 1985, c. 56]: A figure is not available in the form requested. On the information that is available the average time taken was a little over a month. However, during the last 12 months there has been an exceptionally large volume of correspondence which means that Ministers are now replying to about 30,000 letters a year from right hon. and hon. Members.