The failure of the Government to answer written questions is, as everyone knows, an annoyance of mine. What confuses this situation for me is when an MP is clearly going from department to department asking the same question and yet appears to receive answers from some, and excuses from others. This week I'm thinking of Tory MP, Oliver Heald, who has been trying to find out how much departments spend on advertising in the Guardian.
For example, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport spent just short of £39,000 last year on Guardian advertising, whilst the House of Commons Commmission manage to throw £84,951 in there direction. The Welsh Office even got in on the action, spending just over £3,500. Yet when the question was asked to the Department of Transport the answer back was slightly different (and yet predicatable).
Gillian Merron: : The Department did not use The Guardian in fiscal year 2005-06 for advertising in support of our THINK! road safety or Continuous Registration campaigns.Not held centrally? How can you know that you've used the Guardian for recruitment advertising; know that you must have paid for it out of a budget; and yet not know how much you actually spent? What's more, how come other departments answer the question quickly and easily? I dread to think what the figure is, but I have a feeling it's rather high, and that's the real reason it's not been answered.
The Guardian has been used for recruitment advertising. Details, however, are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.