§ Mr. Hanson
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many times during the 1993–94 Session information requested in parliamentary questions has been refused on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.
§ Mr. David Hunt
There have been six occasions during the 1993–94 parliamentary Session when part of the information requested in parliamentary questions has not been given on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.
§ Mr. Spearing
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what consideration he has given to instructing chairmen or women or chief officers of Government agencies or quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations personally to sign letters in reply to those 43W hon. Members who would formerly have received signed replies from Ministers.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes
It is for Ministers in each Department to decide the best way in which to reply to correspondence from hon. Members.
Where the correspondence covers operational matters dealt with by an executive agency, the agency chief executive, who has the detailed knowledge which the hon. Member is seeking, as well as the necessary delegated authority, is best placed to reply. It is open to an hon. Member who is dissatisfied with a reply from an agency chief executive to raise the matter with the responsible Ministers.
The term "quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation" is being used increasingly loosely outside government to embrace diverse organisations from both the public and private sectors. Ministers continue to answer where they have responsibilities in respect of particular bodies. Operational questions may be best addressed to the bodies themselves.