§ Mr. Tom Clarke
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will indicate the average time taken by his Department to provide a substantive answer to letters from right hon. and hon. Members during the 12 months period to the latest available date.
§ Mr. Heseltine
In the 12 months from 1 June 1984 to 31 May 1985 right hon. and hon. Members sent nearly 7,000 letters to Ministers in my Department. A sample of these suggests that the average time between the date of a letter and the date of a substantive reply is about 26 days. This period includes the time (sometimes several days) between the date of a right hon. or hon. Member's letter and the date of receipt in my Department.