Market Testing

Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd November 1992.

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Photo of Mr Nirj Deva Mr Nirj Deva , Brentford and Isleworth 12:00 am, 23rd November 1992

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish figures showing the year-on-year increase in the amount of central Government market testing; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West

Details of our market testing plans for the period to 30 September 1993 will be published on Wednesday, but I am happy to state now that we expect well over £1 billion worth of services to be market tested by the end of September next year. This compares with an average of about £25 million in previous years.

Photo of Mr Nirj Deva Mr Nirj Deva , Brentford and Isleworth

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the dramatic improvement in market testing that has occurred so far. Will he ensure that those improved efficiencies will be passed on to the consumer'?

Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West

I can confirm that the improved efficiencies and indeed any savings that there might be within Departments will be available to those Departments to plough back into the very services where efficiency gains are being made, for the benefit of those services and for those who use them.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner , Bolsover

Is the Minister aware that in the past two or three days there has been a lot of market testing going on, and it has gone along the following lines: "Do you think that the British public should have to pay for the fire at Windsor castle?" The market testing returns are of the order of 90 per cent. against.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. The hon. Gentleman is aware that we have a statement on that matter later.

Photo of Dennis Skinner Dennis Skinner , Bolsover

Ninety per cent. of the British public are against paying for the fire at Windsor castle. The Queen should be made to pay for it. That is the market test this weekend. Instead of talking about all that consumer crap, the right hon. Gentleman should make sure that she pays for the fire.

Photo of Mr William Waldegrave Mr William Waldegrave , Bristol West

I think that the level of the hon. Gentleman's thoughts are about the same as the level of his language. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for National Heritage got it much nearer right when he said that the hearts of people in this country have gone out to Her Majesty the Queen over that tragedy.