Following on from yesterday's post regarding the Treasury's seeming inability to keep accounting records for pretty mundane things, I've had a quick search through the written answers in Parliament for yesterday.
A total of 11 questions were not answered on the basis that it would be a "disproportionate cost" to do so. This has thus got me wondering what exactly is defined as disproportionate? It suggests there is a cost bar in place by the Government which they measure time taken to respond to question against.
This said, there were a couple of times when the questions asked were of such minute detail and nuance that whilst answering them may have been costly, the practicality of doing so was unlikely anyway. However, there were some which simply should've been answered.
For example, asking how much the Treasury paid to DHL between 1997 and 2006 for each financial year is something that ought to be known and be easily accessible. Also, the Treasury should be able to tell Parliament how much of the publics' money it used on staff expenses for special advisers in each of the last three financial years.
I wonder though if someone might ask how exactly an answer is deemed to cost a "disproportionate" amount to answer?