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Constituencies: Telephones

Volume 464: debated on Thursday 11 October 2007

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many constituency office telephone accounts are settled by the Fees Office; and what estimate the Commission has made of the potential costs of the imposition of a £4.50 non-direct debit charge per account by BT. (156488)

I have been asked to reply.

Members have a choice whether to ask the Department of Finance and Administration to settle constituency telephone accounts, including those for BT, or to pay them direct and reclaim the expenditure. In 2006-07 some 365 hon. Members had one or more accounts settled by the Department of Finance and Administration each of which would in future incur the new quarterly charge. On this basis the annual cost of the imposition of the charge of £4.50 is estimated to be approximately £20,000.