HL Deb 22 July 1997 vol 581 cc153-4WA
Baroness Hilton of Eggardon

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will raise the advisory cost limit of £450 for answering written parliamentary Questions.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

The advisory cost limit was last increased in 1993 (18 February,WA cols. 77–78) and was further increased to £500 from yesterday.

The purpose and application of the advisory cost limit remain unchanged. It is intended to act as a threshold for disproportionate cost Parliamentary Questions (PQs). Any written PQ where the marginal cost of preparing the Answer is considered likely to exceed the threshold may be refused in whole or in part on the grounds of disproportionate cost. Alternatively the Minister may decide that the PQ is to be answered irrespective of cost. There is no advisory limit for oral PQs. The advisory limit continues to be based on eight times the average marginal cost for written PQs, which is now £62, rounded to the nearest £50 for convenience of application.