HC Deb 16 July 1979 vol 970 cc359-60W
Mr. Dudley Smith

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what percentage rise in parliamentary questions, written and oral, there has been since parliamentary research assistants were introduced for hon. Members.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Public funds were made available to provide research assistance for hon. Members on 1 January 1972. The average number of questions tabled on each sitting day in each Session from 1971–72 is as follows:

Session Oral Written
1971–72 84 82
1972–73 57 101
1973–74 51 103
1974 51 139
1974–75 48 141
1975–76 54 168
1976–77 50 164
1977–78 53 170
1978–79 55 153
1979–80 (to date) 37 150

At the beginning of Session 1972–73 the daily ration for oral questions was reduced from three to two, and Members were debarred from tabling more than one question for oral answer to the same Minister on the same day. This inevitably changed the balance as between oral and written questions, and 1972–73 has therefore been taken instead of 1971–72 as the point of comparison with the present Session. As between Session 1972–73 and the present, the number of oral questions tabled per day has fallen by 54 per cent., while the number of written questions has risen by 49 per cent.