§ Mr. Higgins
To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to ensure that(a) letters from hon. Members to Ministers concerning next steps agencies which are concerned with political rather than administrative or 117W commercial matters and (b) letters concerning the planning inspectorate will be replied to by Ministers and not chief executives.
§ Mr. Newton
I have been asked to reply.
The Government's policy on dealing with letters from hon. Members on agency matters was most recently set out in the Government's reply to the Treasury and Civil Service Committee's 1990 report on the next steps initiative, Cm 1263, which said:It is for Ministers responsible for particular Agencies to respond in the way they consider most helpful and appropriate to inquiries raised by Members. Ministers will normally ask the Chief Executive to reply to letters which concern day-to-day operational matters delegated to the Agency".