Wednesday, November 19, 2008

So much for caring about energy prices?

Nothing surprise me from this Government when it comes to avoiding questions in Parliament. The standard response, as we all know, is to say that it would cost too much to answer the question. This is usually preceded by a comment about how records are "not held centrally".

In some cases this is actually a justifiable answer when it is being asked to a department that might have masses of offices around the country. However, what about when you ask the Treasury a simple question of how much the electricity, heating and water bills were for each of the last five years?

You'd think the Treasury, the department responsible for looking after the economy and the books for the country would have the answer to hand and it wouldn't cost them more than the £600 limit for a PQ right?

Yeah yeah, you know what's coming.
Angela Eagle: The information requested in respect of No 11 Downing street is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Yes that is right, the Treasury does not hold records of how much money it spends on electricity, heating and water for the bosses house in Downing Street, and it would cost too much to find out. This raises a couple of interesting questions.
  1. Where the Hell are the bills being filed if not in the bloody Treasury?
  2. How can the Chancellor be expected to be the country's official bookkeeper if he doesn't even know how much keeping the lights on in his home is costing?
  3. How can they claim to be monitoring energy prices when they don't know monitor what they're paying?


Anonymous said...

It wld be interesting to see what respose one got to an FoI request . . .

John Pickworth said...

You see, now this would be a perfect application for one of the Government's cherished databases.

But will they employ one to monitor their own activities? I wouldn't hold your breath.

Anonymous said...

As they claim to be monitoring energy prices, here's another question for them: how come my gas bill has gone up by 15% in the last few months through the ad-hoc application of a "gas transport charge"? No recent increase in gas, (for once), but now I'm being made to pay for them to deliver their product to me, with no corresponding drop in price of the product itself. Have they never factored this into their prices before? And of course, I've also got to pay VAT on that, so no surprise that this squalid government don't give a FF.

Barnacle Bill said...

It just goes to show what a cosseted world our politicians live in.
I would imagine you would be hard pressed to find any MP who knew the price of a loaf of bread, or a pint of milk, but ask them the price of a plasma TV!
The sooner the lot of them were put on the minimum wage with properly accounted for expenses the sooner we might get some sense out of them.

Anonymous said...

The gas, leccy and water bills for No. 11 "aren't held centrally"? What do they do, tear them up and cast the pieces to the four winds?

I find it very hard to believe that the energy bills for the whole of Whitehall, let alone No. 11, aren't held centrally. These are bureaucrats we're talking about, not old Uncle Harry who should really be in a home or something.

Anonymous said...

A very sloppy PQ answer, which deserves to be derided. I'm fairly sure the Treasury should have answered "We don't pay the bills for No 11".

10, 11 and 12 Downing Street were almost completely reconstucted between 1959 and 1961, and I would think that the three buildings share a heating system.

The freehold of all three is recorded in the 2007 edition of the National Asset Register (published on HMT's own website!)
as being held by the Cabient Office so I suspect they now pay the utility bills for the whole block.