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Oral Answers to Questions — Departmental Responsibilities

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th February 1974.

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Photo of Sir Sydney Chapman Sir Sydney Chapman , Birmingham Handsworth 12:00 am, 7th February 1974

asked the Prime Minister if he will arrange for co-ordination between the Scottish and Welsh Offices and other Government Departments to permit those other Departments, in providing information and statistics relating to their responsibilities, to give parallel information for Scotland and Wales.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

Departments providing information about their responsibilities give parallel information for Scotland and Wales whenever it is appropriate and practicable to do so.

Photo of Sir Sydney Chapman Sir Sydney Chapman , Birmingham Handsworth

I did not hear my right hon. Friend's answer.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. I did not hear it either.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

With the leave of the House, I shall repeat it. Departments providing information about their responsibilities give parallel information for Scotland and Wales whenever it is appropriate and practicable to do so.

Photo of Sir Sydney Chapman Sir Sydney Chapman , Birmingham Handsworth

I am grateful for that information. Some hon. Members who table Questions have been finding it difficult to get statistics and information relating to Great Britain or the United Kingdom. As the Question refers to parliamentary Questions, is my right hon. Friend aware that the latest definition of an optimist is a Labour Member still seen to be tabling Questions this morning for parliamentary answer?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I know that my hon. Friend and others have recently been disappointed that information has not been given in that form. Owing to the regulations governing the answering of Questions it was not practicable, in the time available, to get the split-up which my hon. Friends and other hon. Members required. There is a general rule that, wherever Questions seek statistical information in a particular form, the information will be given in that form. We shall do our utmost in future to ensure that that is the case.

Photo of Mr Laurie Pavitt Mr Laurie Pavitt , Willesden West

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when hon. Members seek to make comparisons with past figures relating to the National Health Service, concerning, for example, the changeover in the Welsh Office away from England and Scotland, the creation of the Welsh Office separately from the English and Scottish Departments makes it extremely difficult to put Questions such as those relating to long waiting lists, queue jumping, private practice, and so on? It would be helpful if we could always have comparable figures for the three separate Departments.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

That is not an aspect of Questions which has been brought to my notice. I shall gladly try to ensure that that happens in future.