To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions in the last 12 months Ministers in his Department have used their discretion to rule that a parliamentary question for written answer should be answered because it would be in the public interest to do so, even though to do so would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold of £700.
Of the 1,477(1) questions received by my Department, from the beginning of 2008 until the end of the Session, only 24 received no answer on the grounds of disproportionate cost. This represents less than 0.02 per cent. of the total.
If a question is deemed to exceed the threshold it is my Department's policy to provide whatever information it can, if available, within that threshold.