§ Mr. Rooker
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those topics on which it is not his practice to answer parliamentary questions; and if be will list any changes in the practice of his Department since 3 May.
§ Mr. Heseltine
[pursuant to his reply, 9 November 1979]; It is my practice to answer all questions on topics falling within my responsibilities, subject only to generally recognised restrictions relating to certain types of information, notably:
(i) information which is commercially confidential—for example details of the leases of individual Government office buildings;452W
(ii) some aspects of the management of my Department and the formulation of policy—for example personal information relating to the appointment or employment of individuals, and details of the advice given by officials to Ministers;
(iii) information which is classified for security reasons;
(iv) information which can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
I am, however, unable to provide information on topics which fall outside my ministerial responsibilities, such as matters which are solely the responsibility of individual local authorities or which relate to the day-to-day management of nationalised industries, Government agencies and fringe bodies—for example the water authorities and the Nature Conservancy Council.
No list of "prohibited topics" is maintained by my Department. Each question is dealt with as it arises. There has been no change in general practice since 3 May.