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Legislation: Costs

House of Lords written question – answered on 15th July 2009.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 23 June (WA 269—70), why they do not keep accounts showing the total cost of preparing and introducing a Bill.

Photo of Baroness Royall of Blaisdon Baroness Royall of Blaisdon Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, House of Lords, Leader of the House of Lords and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Government accounts are prepared on a departmental basis. The cost of preparing and introducing a Bill is typically borne by several departments and can be difficult to disaggregate from parallel work to develop and implement related government policy. The cost of any given Bill will depend on many different factors, such as, for example, the time spent by civil servants, including Parliamentary Counsel and Ministers across government on developing the Bill as well as associated running costs. As the Civil Service and Ministers do not, in general, work by reference to billable units of time, the collection and disaggregation of that information to make this possible would impose very significant additional burdens on all departments.

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