HC Deb 14 July 1986 vol 101 c355W
Mr. Chope

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many letters from hon. Members to his Department still awaiting a substantive reply were received more than (a) one month ago, (b) two months ago, (c) three months ago and (d) four months ago; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Baker

My Department introduced a computer system for recording ministerial correspondence in October 1985. Between then and June 10, about 9,000 letters from hon. Members were received. Figures for those which remain unanswered are as follows*

Number Percentage of total received
a Received one to two months ago 390 4
b Received two to three months ago 205 2
c Received three to four months ago 75 1
d Received more than four months ago 330 4
* These figures include some letters which have received a substantive reply but which require further action.

There has been an increase of about 80 per cent. in the volume of ministerial correspondence in the first four months of this year as compared with the same period last year. As soon as the necessary extra staff can be made available, it will be a principal objective of the Department to reduce the average time taken to reply to letters from hon. Members and to clear the current backlogs.

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