To ask the Scottish Executive , further to the answer to question S1W-521 by Mr Jack McConnell on 23 August, whether the reference to the £100 average cost of answering a Scottish Parliamentary Question being consistent with evidence from the UK Parliament means that the cost of answering Scottish Parliamentary Questions is (a) the same as or (b) different from the cost of answering UK Parliamentary Questions and, if it is different, whether the cost of answering Scottish Parliamentary Questions is more or less, and by how much, than the cost of answering UK Parliamentary Questions.
The average cost of £100 for answering written Scottish Parliamentary Questions is an estimate based on preliminary work undertaken over a short period and using a relatively small sample of questions. The Executive intends to undertake a detailed study of the cost of answering questions over the coming months and will make the results of that exercise available to members.
The last comprehensive exercise to assess the cost of answering Westminster Parliamentary Questions was undertaken in 1991. The resulting average cost figure is uprated on an annual basis. The latest published figure for the average cost of answering written questions is £115 (Hansard, 11 March 1999, Column 363). This reflects uprating to April 1998.