HC Deb 26 July 1985 vol 83 cc781-2W
Mr. Beith

asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) by how much the amounts disbursed from public funds to the official Opposition in the form of benefits in kind, such as office machinery, postal services, telecommunications and travel have been increased in each of the last five years;

(2) whether, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Woolwich (Mr. Cartwright) on 15 July, he will specify what office machinery, postal services, telecommunications, travel and other benefits are included in the annual sums of £1,747 and £53,970 provided for the official Opposition from public funds.

Mr. Biffen

[pursuant to his reply, 18 July 1985, c. 226]: The detail of the costs which have been incurred in providing services to the Official Opposition during 1984–85 is as follows:

Use of the Government car service 31,458.20
House of Commons
Office machinery, comprising: Ronescan Model 480 stencil cutter 861.51
Hire charges relating to Xerox photocopier 885.32
Cost of posting the Whip 8,908.32
House of Lords
Cost of posting the Whip 13,157.72
Telephone rental charges (2 lines—222 3948/8663) 171.66
Telephone call charges (2 lines—222 3948/8663) 274.09

Despite an extensive search it is not possible, without employing disproportionate administrative effort, to provide, in total, the costs of these services in earlier years. What has been identified are the costs of using the Government car service and the costs of telecommunications.

These were:

1981–82 1982–83 1983–84
£ £ £
Government car service 21,320 23,920 28,600
Telecommunications 364 494 623

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