§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how and why it took his Department from 24 May until 20 June before he could discover and pass on to another Department matters which he discovered were not within his ministerial responsibilities; and whether he will expedite such transference of letters in the future.
§ Mr. Peter Rees
The letter to which the hon. Member refers was received in the office of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 30 May and acknowledged the same day. One of the points raised in the letter was the concern of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services, and a copy of the letter was accordingly sent to his Department on 20 June. I regret the delay between receipt of the letter and a copy being sent to the Department of Health and Social Security. This letter was received at a time when Treasury Ministers received a particularly large volume of correspondence in the immediate pre-Budget period. I have no reason to believe that such delays are common or should recur, and I am satisfied that in general letters received in the Chancellor's departments are dealt with as expeditiously as possible. If hon. Members are particularly concerned about specific cases, they are always free to inquire by telephone. Such inquiries are usually dealt with on the same day.