On October 11th, Mark Hoban MP asked the Leader of the House, Harriet Harman, how much her office had spent on First Class rail tickets in the last year. The answer was £242.20. He also asked her how much they spent on training in the last year. The answer was £9,000. No big deal there, pretty reasonable I would say.
Strangely though, when Norman Baker asked what the cost of fixed penalty notices for vehicles in the purview of her department were in the last year that figures were available for, Helen Goodman MP responded by saying,
Following a machinery of government change, detailed information on expenditure incurred in the 2006-07 financial year is available only at disproportionate cost.So they have detailed expenditure information incurred on train tickets and training which is not too expensive to get, yet in this case they simply don't have any figures because the machinery of Government changed?
Now please do correct me if I'm wrong here, but the only machinery of Government changes that were announced when Brown took over were as follow. The Department for Trade and Industry became the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. There was the creation of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, and the Department for Education and Skills became the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
None of those departments, as far as I can tell, have anything to do with the Office of the Leader of the Commons which hasn't changed at all has it? Seems to me that the reason they've given for why it is too expensive to find the answer is complete nonsense. Isn't it interesting though that the first two answers had small figures in them. Could it be that the fixed penalty notice figure might just show they've been a little naughty with their driving speeds?
Update: Purely as an aside, it's amusing that the Leader of the House chooses to selectively publish Parliamentary questions on her official website.