§ Mr. Nellist
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the average cost of answering a parliamentary question for written answer to the Department of Employment.
The average cost of answering a written parliamentary question is not routinely recorded in the Employment Department. Estimates are, however, made where there is a likelihood of exceeding the disproportionate cost threshold (currently £250). However, following an interdepartmental exercise in 1972 in which the Employment Department participated an assessment was made of the average cost throughout all Departments of answering a written question. This assessment was based on staff time, using average rates of pay and associated costs for the grades concerned, together with a share of the cost of parliamentary sections and any substantial non-staff costs such as computer usage. This assessed figure is regularly updated and currently stands at £64.