HC Deb 23 May 1985 vol 79 c504W
Mr. Tony Banks

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the Answer of 9 May, Official Report, column 467–8, if he will give resasons for the annual increases of £2,600 between 1981–82 and 1982–83 in respect of costs to provide cars for the Secretary of State and five of the departmental Ministers; why the increases were uniform; why the costs of car provision for one of the Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State declined by £8,060 between 1980–81 and 1981–82 when costs were increasing for all other Ministers; what caused the annual increase in car costs of £4,680 for all Ministers between 1982–83 and 1983–84 except one; and why the costs remained stable for the Secretary of State's car between 1983–84 and 1984–85 whilst over the same period it declined by a uniform £2,600 per annum in respect of four of his departmental Ministers.

Mr. Patrick Jenkin

[pursuant to his answers, 22 May 1985, c. 441, and 9 May 1985, c. 267–8]: The costs identified for 1980–81, 1981–82 and 1982–83 were those incurred by PSA Supplies on behalf of DOE in providing ministerial cars as described. The annual increase in cost for those years reflects increases in the cost of provision, including increases in drivers' wages and overheads, fuel, maintenance, management and garaging. It is coincidental that the sum of these increases were uniform for these two years. The cost of provision of a car for one Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State reduced between 1980–81 and 1981–82 because he was in office for only six months in 1981–82. His successor does not use an allocated car. In 1983, the property repayment services scheme was introduced whereby Government Departments paid PSA Supplies, subsequently the Crown Suppliers, direct according to tariffs reflecting different levels of service provided, such as different models and different periods of time for which the cars were available. The increase in cost of provision of cars for all Ministers, except one who was in office for only nine months of 1983–84, reflects the levels of service provided and increases in operating costs as detailed above. In 1984–85, the Secretary of State required the same level of service as provided in 1983–84, four of his departmental Ministers required a lower level of service, while one departmental Minister required a higher level of service.