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Parliamentary Questions

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th April 2004.

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Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Liberal Democrat, Lewes

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she intends to take to ensure that questions tabled for a named day response are answered on the specified day.

Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Minister of State (Rural Affairs), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I have explained to officials at DEFRA the importance attached by parliamentarians to receiving a full and prompt reply to formal questions. I have asked for further steps to be taken to make sure that this is fully understood in every part of the Department. It must be understood that there is a cost to providing answers, both in financial terms and in the time of officials that has to be diverted to providing answers or to meeting a deadline in the case of "named day" questions and that some information is simply not available in the form requested. I and my Ministerial colleagues are always willing to discuss the needs of Members.

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