HC Deb 03 August 1978 vol 955 cc747-8W
Mr. Paul Channon

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, in view of the inadequate replies given to Questions by the hon. Member for Southend, West on 28th April, he will now publish in the Official Report corrected answers to these replies.

Mr. Marks

I very much regret that there were inaccuracies in the information about the south-west region of PSA and Germany in the answers which I gave to the hon. Member about Maintenance Economy Reviews on 28th April [Official Report, Vol. 948, c. 729–301]. The corrected information is set out below: The savings in each region of the United Kingdom arising from maintenance economy reviews from their inception to 31st March 1977 are estimated as follows:

Eastern 464,500
Midland 1,556,500
North-East 562,426
North-West 121,725
South-East 1,276,362
South-West 3,111,098
Southern 4,009,875
Scotland 582,627
Wales 470,830
London 875,824

Savings for 1977–78 are not yet available.

These figures are at outturn prices. They include approximately £9 million recurring annual savings on Property Services Agency Votes.

The numbers of maintenance economy surveys carried out in each region of the United kingdom since 1974 together with the resultant savings are as follows:

Region No. of Surveys Estimated Savings MER Teams
EASTERN 2 8,700
MIDLAND 13 324,500
NORTH EAST 9 76,415
SOUTH EAST 11 744,750
SOUTH WEST 5 1,092,364
SOUTHERN 6 574,785
SCOTLAND 1 67,080
WALES 4 53,050
LONDON 18 656,129
Total: 69 3,597,773
*Including any additional savings achieved as a result of reviews of previous surveys.

In Germany 11 surveys covering one half of the British Army on the Rhine have been completed and analysed. Further surveys are in progress and a number of reports are being studied. When all the recommendations agreed so far with BAOR have been implemented it is expected that annual savings of about £2½ million will accrue. To achieve these savings capital expenditure of about £½ million will be necessary.

Mr. Channon

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what practice he adopts to ensure that priority Written Questions from hon. Members receive accurate replies; and what steps he proposes to take to correct a situation in which the hon. Member for Southend, West received two inaccurate replies relating to the savings on maintenance economy received on 28th April.

Mr. Marks

Officials are fully aware of the need to ensure the accuracy of replies to all Questions from hon. Members. They are nevertheless being reminded of the need for careful checking of information used. The errors to which the hon. Member refers arose because information compiled in the Department over a number of years and collected from regional offices was misinterpreted in the limited time available for reply. When the inaccuracies came to light, I wrote to the hon. Member on 19th June to inform him and to invite him to put down a further question so that the correct details could be printed in theOfficial Report.