HC Deb 10 April 2002 vol 383 cc225-6W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will take steps to improve the response time to parliamentary questions. [47723]

Maria Eagle

In its response to the Public Administration Select Committee's Second Report of Session 2000–01 on Ministerial Accountability and Parliamentary Questions, the Government made clear their commitment to providing prompt and accurate answers to parliamentary questions. This continues to be the Government's position.

Hilary Benn

The Commonwealth Development Corporation was registered as CDC Group plc in 1999 and now trades as CDC Capital Partners. The data below refer to the portfolio or new equity investments of the group as a whole, and takes no account of new lending if any.

Statistics held by CDC are based on the category of poorer countries defined in the Investment Policy. These are countries with a GNP per capita below the weighted mean for lower middle income countries, based on World Bank data published in 1998. This category, which corresponds to a GNP per capita of $1,730 in 1996, has been used in the replies.

Some data for years preceding the establishment of CDC's Investment Policy are not readily available. CDC will write shortly to supplement the answers given for earlier years. Data for the year ending December 2001 will be published later this month in CDC's Annual Report.

Since the House returned in October we have received double the number of the previous session and by the end of this session we anticipate having dealt with significantly more questions than any of the last five years. This does of course have an impact on our ability to deal with questions speedily. We are confident that in deciding to table questions hon. Members take into account the impact of their requests on the ability of colleagues to secure answers to their inquiries. Many hon. Members secure information from other sources such as publications by the Department which are available in the Library.