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1996 - PMQT Written Answers 10th January 1996

Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister's Question Time from 10th January 1996.


PRIME MINISTER:

Executive Agencies

Dr. Wright: To ask the Prime Minister if answers sent to hon. Members in reply to parliamentary questions by the head of executive agencies in his Department are (a) seen, (b) approved and (c) amended by him before they are sent; and if he will identify such letters to which amendments by him have been made in 1994-95.

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service on 9 January.


Royal Household

Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Prime Minister what is the present surplus in the civil list reserves; and what is the forecast surplus for each succeeding year for which an estimate has been made.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 9 January 1996]: At the end of 1995 the surplus on the civil list provision under the current 10-year settlement was £16.9 million, including interest earned. This reflects both lower inflation and cost savings by the royal household.

Under the financing mechanisms of the Civil List Act 1972, provision is fixed over the period so that the surplus accumulated in the early years can offset any shortfall in the later ones. It would be used only after discussion with the Treasury. At the end of the 10-year period any surplus will be carried forward by the Government in setting the figure for the new period.

The Government do not forecast a surplus for future years.

Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Prime Minister what efficiency gains have been achieved in the royal household in the past year.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 9 January 1996]: Efficiency gains in 1994 amounted to more than £1 million. Since 1991, costs have been held to more than 9 per cent. below inflation.

Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Prime Minister what was the expenditure on (a) royal garden parties and (b) royal functions other than garden parties; and what was the cost per person attending for each in the latest year for which figures are available.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 9 January 1996]: Total expenditure in 1995 on royal garden parties was £325,000, and nearly £230,000 on other royal functions. The full cost per person averaged below £11 for the former. The latter ranged from almost £35 for banquets to £3 for investitures, averaging around £13 together. More than 47,500 guests were involved.