To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 20 June 2007, Official Report, column 1879W, on Departments: correspondence, whether the 15 day target for responding to correspondence from hon. Members includes holding replies; what percentage of letters received holding replies only within 15 days in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what percentage of letters from hon. Members received a substantive response within 15 working days.
During the financial year ending March 2007 HM Treasury sent 85 per cent. substantive replies to hon. Members within target. Performances do not normally include holding replies but, exceptionally, where an issue may be subject to forthcoming policy or announcement changes such replies may be included if hon. Members are updated with the latest position and then further updated once those changes have been made. Holding replies account for around 2 per cent. of replies to hon. Members.