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22 Jan 2009 : Column 983

The disproportionate cost threshold is calculated to be eight times the average marginal cost of answering written parliamentary questions. The marginal cost is the direct cost of the time spent by civil servants preparing the answer for a written parliamentary question or producing the necessary facts and figures. It excludes the standing costs of parliamentary branches and Ministers’ offices and the fixed cost of staff accommodation. I hope that the hon. Member for Lewes is fully enlightened by that paragraph, because I am not sure that I am.

22 Jan 2009 : Column 984

I have just been handed a response to the question about the connection between freedom of information legislation and ministerial answers. However, I am unwilling to risk reading out something that I do not fully understand twice in one speech, so I shall confine myself to replying to the hon. Member for Lewes by mail. If he is not satisfied with my answer, I have no doubt that he will table a written parliamentary question.

Question put and agreed to.

4.42 pm

House adjourned.

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