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Lord Norton of Louth: My Lords, before the noble and learned Lord sits down, I wish to raise one point that arises from what he has said. As he will be aware, an efficiency survey of ministerial correspondence was carried out by the Cabinet Office efficiency unit in 1990. From the figures given in that report and from the figures the noble and learned Lord has given this evening, it appears that the annual volume of letters from parliamentarians to Ministers is maintained at about 200,000 letters. It is interesting to note that the excellent efficiency unit report also identified the cost of responding to correspondence. Given that the volumes have remained the same, can the Minister comment upon cost and whether there have been efficiency savings in terms of the cost of the exercise itself?

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, the noble Lord is right to say that the level of correspondence from MPs and Members of this House has remained broadly static. I believe that the level of correspondence as regards members of the public has increased. The question the noble Lord has raised about costs is an important one. I do not have the figures at my fingertips, or indeed anywhere near any part of my body. I hope I may write to the noble Lord with an answer to that question.


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