HC Deb 03 July 1989 vol 156 cc64-5W
Mr. Terry Davis

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the answer of 22 June,Official Report, column 198, how many copies of the community charge practice notes have been issued to people or organisations other than local authorities.

Mr. Gummer

[holding answer 29 June 1989]: In the case of the community charge practice note No. 19 "Exemptions from the Personal Community Charge (2)", published earlier this month, 2,700 copies were distributed to practitioners in local government and a further 700 copies were circulated to other organisations and individuals. Detailed records of distribution are not available for previous practice notes, but the proportion of local authority to other recipients was similar.

Dr. Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his reply of 11 May to the hon. Member for Copeland,Official Report, column 521, he will state how many requests have been received from the public by the private company, contracted by the Central Office of Information, for the leaflets on the community charge listed on page 2 of "The Community Charge (The So-Called Poll Tax): How It Will Work For You" delivered to all households in England: what is the average time taken to deal with a request for one or more leaflets; what monitoring of this company's performance is being undertaken by the Central Office of Information; and if lie will make a statement.

Mr. Ridley

[holding answer 28 June 1989]: There has been exceptionally high demand for these further leaflets with over 235,000 requests received so far. Many requests are for more than one leaflet. It was thought right to delay distribution until the outcome of court action by Greenwich borough council against the short leaflet "The Community Charge (the so-called Poll Tax)" was known and the implications of the judgment could be fully assessed. This and the level of demand has led to delays, both factors beyond my control, which I naturally regret. Orders arising for the short leaflet are, however, now being met and an explanatory letter is being sent to people who have placed orders which cannot be fulfilled until stocks have been replenished. Reprinting to meet the high demand is under way. The usual monitoring procedures are in place. All orders will he fulfilled as quickly as possible.