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Point of Order

Volume 505: debated on Thursday 4 February 2010

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. In business questions, my right hon. Friend the Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir George Young) raised the scandal of the 12,000 disabled students who are waiting for grants. Those students have been failed by the Student Loans Company. That story raises the issue of accountability to the House. That information was gathered by my hon. Friend the Member for Havant (Mr. Willetts) by way of a freedom of information request to the Student Loans Company. The same requests were made through a number of parliamentary questions that I tabled to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in December. Unfortunately, those questions remain unanswered. This morning, my office spoke to the office of the Minister of State, the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-East (Mr. McFadden). Following that, and my giving notice that I was going to raise this point of order, I have now been told that those questions will be answered today. Is it not outrageous that, while answers can be obtained as a result of freedom of information requests, parliamentary questions on the same topic can remain unanswered for nearly two months? What can be done to ensure that this gross discourtesy to the House does not recur?

The hon. Gentleman has placed his remarks on record, and they will clearly be read by those concerned. The Speaker and the other occupants of the Chair have a responsibility for what happens in Parliament, and Ministers’ responses. The hon. Gentleman’s comments will have been noted.