MP complains over Parliamentary snub

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

AN MP has accused the Government of hypocrisy after complaining that a minister refused to answer a Parliamentary Question he had tabled.

Durham North MP Kevan Jones, who represents Labour, asked Brandon Lewis how many staff from the Department for Communities and Local Government  (DCLG) had been involved in producing an in-house publication which gives examples of savings that councils can make.

He also asked how many hours had been spent preparing the document.

Mr Lewis said a member of staff assisted with the publication, but said he did not consider it a good use of public resources to ask officials to "fill out time sheets" in order to answer the question.

He said otherwise there was no substantive cost to the department.

Mr Jones said he was shocked by what he regarded as the dismissal of an entirely legitimate question.

He said: "Ministers from the department have lectured local councils at every opportunity, even asking them to publish any expenditure over £500. "It smacks of hypocrisy that they themselves are not willing to disclose details of their own expenditure."

A DCLG spokeswoman said: “As the answer stated, there was no substantive cost of producing the best practice document, which will help councils save money.

"By contrast, the average cost of an answer to a Parliamentary Question is £164.”

 

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