HC Deb 27 April 1987 vol 115 cc15-6
29. Mr. Greenway

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many (a) self-seal and (b) non self-seal envelopes were provided for use by hon. Members and others during the latest year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Biffen

During the period March 1986 to February 1987, 850,000 white self-seal post-paid envelopes and 2,550,000 gummed envelopes of the equivalent type were provided for the use of right hon. and hon. Members.

Mr. Greenway

Will my right hon. Friend be kind enough, in his capacity as Lord Privy Seal, to move entirely to self-seal envelopes for hon. Members, bearing in mind the obnoxious taste of gummed envelopes? Alternatively, will he arrange for a more pleasant flavour of gum for the benefit of hon. Members' secretaries?

Mr. Biffen

This is essentially a matter for the Services Committee. I am sure that my hon. Friend's comments will be noted, and I have reason to believe that his view is more widely held.

Sir Alex Fletcher

Self-sealing envelopes are a long-awaited innovation, but is my right hon. Friend aware that the quality is very poor and that they do not stick down? Will he have a word with the suppliers?

Mr. Biffen

Yes, the point has been noted. I gave a reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Staffordshire (Mr. Heddle) on 8 April, at column 230 of Hansard, explaining the remedial action being taken.

Mr. Cormack

How much do these navel-contemplating questions cost to answer? Could they not be left off the Order Paper?

Mr. Biffen

My mind boggles at assessing the cost of answering such questions or, indeed, the supplementary question that I have just been asked. I believe that my time is costed at rather less than other activities in the House, but I note what my hon. Friend has said.