Below is the text of the written answers relating to Prime Minister’s Question Time from 22nd April 1991.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list by Government Department those subject areas that were previously open to answer via parliamentary questions, but which since June 1979 have been excluded as a consequence of legislation and changes in administrative arrangements.
The Prime Minister : Legislation and changes in administrative arrangements do not generally change the accountability of Ministers to Parliament except where the Government’s successful programme of privatisation has removed a particular function from the public sector. In respect of “next steps” agencies, ministerial accountability is unchanged and parliamentary questions relating to executive agencies remain in order, although Ministers may arrange for chief executives to write to Members on matters which have been delegated to an agency in its framework document. I would encourage members to approach chief executives direct in the first instance on such matters, their aim is to provide a response which is as full and as helpful as possible on a timescale similar to that for a ministerial response to a parliamentary question.