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1994 - PMQT Written Answers 16th May 1994

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 16th May 1994.


PRIME MINISTER:

Sir Robin Butler

Mr. Simpson : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Mackinlay) of 28 April, Official Report, columns 254-55, if he will set out the criteria to be adopted to judge the disproportionate time or effort in preparing information as stated at paragraph (c) of the Cabinet Secretary's note to which he refers.

The Prime Minister : The criteria are set out in the guidance on interpretation of the code of practice on access to Government information, which has been issued to all Departments and placed in the Library of the House. The guidance states that consideration should be given to the amount of information sought in an application and the difficulties in identifying, locating or collating the information requested. The guidance goes on to say :

"In each case, the test is whether these factors would mean that meeting an access request would require an unreasonable diversion of resources or otherwise undermine the work of the department (because files are kept out of circulation for extended periods, for example, or staff have to be diverted a considerable amount of time from other more urgent work)."


Wrafton Laboratories, Devon

Mr. John Evans : To ask the Prime Minister on how many occasions he has visited the north Devon factory of Wrafton laboratories since January 1993; and what was the date and purpose of each visit.

The Prime Minister : I have made one visit, on Friday 5 February 1993, as part of a series of regional visits throughout the country.


Consultants

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Prime Minister when he intends to publish the report of the Cabinet Office efficiency unit on the use of outside consultants to identify savings in the civil service.

The Prime Minister : The final report of the efficiency unit's scrutiny on the Government's use of external consultants will be completed shortly. It is the normal practice for the efficiency unit's reports to be published. A decision on publishing the report will be made when the final report has been received.


Lockerbie

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what information has been made available to Her Majesty's Government as a result of the opening of Stasi files in East Germany about the acquisition of timing devices of the type manufactured by Edwin Bollier and Ulrick Lumpert, which featured in the destruction of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie and of the approach to Bollier and Lumpert by United States authorities on 30 December 1988.

The Prime Minister : The exchange of information with the German authorities in the Lockerbie investigation is a matter for my right honourable and learned Friend the Lord Advocate. He has repeatedly made clear that he cannot comment on details of the available evidence while criminal proceedings are pending.