Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 1:20 pm on 18th November 2015.

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Photo of Clive Betts Clive Betts Chair, Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee 1:20 pm, 18th November 2015

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. On 14 March this year, the Communities and Local Government Committee produced a report on litter and fly-tipping. The convention is that Government Departments will respond to such reports within eight weeks. Sometimes there is a reason for a delay, and obviously the general election intervened, but it is now eight months since the report was produced. Despite repeated requests at ministerial and official level on a regular basis, we are still no nearer to getting a response. That shows disrespect not merely to the Select Committee but to the House has a whole. Will you use your good offices to ensure that the report is responded to in a proper manner?

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

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his courtesy in giving me notice of this point of order. Clearly, it is important to the effectiveness of Select Committees that Government Departments respond promptly to their reports. The Government’s own guidance makes it clear that Departments should aim to respond to Committee reports within two months, and states:

“Only in exceptional circumstances should a response be deferred for more than six months after the Report’s publication.”

I trust that the concerns expressed by the hon. Gentleman, who is, after all, the Chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee, have been noted by those on the Treasury Bench and that the Government’s response will follow shortly. For the avoidance of doubt, and so that this is well recalled both in the House and beyond, I reiterate what he said. This important report was entitled, “Litter and fly-tipping in England”, and it was published on 14 March 2015. It is hard to see why the Government have not been able to get round to determining and publishing a response, and they should now do so.