Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 12:18 pm on 12th June 2014.

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Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley NATO Parliamentary Assembly UK Delegation, NATO Parliamentary Assembly (President) 12:18 pm, 12th June 2014

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. During Environment, Food and Rural Affairs questions today, the Under-Secretary of State, Dan Rogerson—I have spoken with his office about this—said, “We are investing more in flood defences than the last Government.” Four months ago, following a similar claim by the Secretary of State, the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority wrote to me to confirm that Government spending on flood protection has been cut by about £250 million during the time the coalition Government have been in power. He added that

“given the salience of these figures and the public interest in them, it is my view that it would better serve the public good if Defra were to consider publishing official statistics on expenditure… on… flooding… in future.”

Can you advise me on how this House could give the UK Statistics Authority, rather than Ministers, the power to determine which figures are so important that they should be published as official statistics that are independent, quality assured and accurate?

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order and for notice of his intention to raise something of this kind. My best advice to him is that he should contact the Public Administration Committee, within whose auspices such matters would definitely fall. I appreciate that this has been a long-running matter so far as he is concerned, and if he wants to broker a step change or some sort of improvement in what he regards as an unsatisfactory state of affairs, going through that Select Committee might be a useful way to proceed. He can, of course, go to the Table Office and use the Order Paper in the usual way, and I dare say he will do so, but that is my most constructive advice to the hon. Gentleman and I hope it is helpful.