Mark Hoban MP

15 Dec 2008 16:32:39

Eric Pickles asks the most written questions in 2007-08


Update: Some more examples of Mr Pickles's written questions have been added, to give a fuller flavour.

Eric Pickles, Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary and MP for Brentwood & Ongar, has come top of a league table. He was followed closely by Mark Hoban, MP for Fareham and a Shadow Treasury Minister. In 2007-08 Mr Pickles asked 2,190 written questions. Mr Hoban asked 2,097.

This story comes courtesy of the Yeovil Express, as local Lib Dem MP David Laws came a distant third.

Written questions certainly tie up civil servants and cost money. But these MPs are assiduous, and should therefore be congratulated for their efforts. Admittedly this is just one measure, but they are clearly working very hard.

The following written question represents one of Mr Pickles's greatest hits. When John Prescott left his grace and favour Whitehall pad, he left a hell of a mess:

"To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2008, Official Report, columns 1158-9W, on Admiralty House, (1) what minor works were undertaken; [189572]

(2) what the cost was to the public purse of the minor works. [189588]

Meg Munn: In line with normal procedure a one-off deep clean of the property was undertaken at change over of tenants. This included cleaning of lights, curtains, nets and windows, at a cost of £3,319.67, including value added tax (VAT).

A pelmet, tracking and curtains for one window was supplied and installed at a cost of £1,030.16, including VAT.

Two bedrooms, an adjacent corridor and one bathroom were repainted and a washer dryer, a tumble dryer, fridge freezer and mixer taps were supplied and installed. The cost of these works and equipment was £9,322.92, including VAT."

Mr Pickles exposed the fact that flytippers - who dump rubbish and run - are not being held to account.

"To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many prosecutions were (a) undertaken and (b) successful in relation to fly-tipping incidents in 2006-07 in (i) absolute terms and (ii) as a percentage of the total number of fly-tipping incidents. [176541]

Joan Ruddock: Prosecution data are taken from Flycapture, the national fly-tipping database. In 2006-07, local authorities and the Environment Agency submitted the data in the following table.

Prosecutions figures are only cases taken through the court system and do not include wider enforcement action.

In 2006-07, local authorities recorded an additional 378,974 enforcement actions, consisting of warning letters, statutory notices, fixed penalty notices, duty of care inspections, vehicle seizures and formal cautions. Excluding Liverpool city council, this figure was 172,042.



Local authorities Environment Agency

Total incidents



Total incidents (excluding Liverpool city council)



Total prosecutions undertaken



Successful prosecutions



Total prosecutions as percentage of total incidents



Total prosecutions as percentage of total (excluding Liverpool city council)



Successful prosecutions as percentage of total incidents



Successful prosecutions as percentage of total incidents (excluding Liverpool city council)



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26 Nov 2008 10:52:24

Mark Hoban calls on the Government to act on Equitable Life

Mark_hoban_mpWestminster Hall held a debate on Equitable Life yesterday. The mutual life insurer defaulted on its obligations to policyholders back in 2000, and the effects are still being felt today.

Mark Hoban, Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, spoke forcefully:

"In the four months that have passed since the Minister received the ombudsman’s report, we have had not one word from the Government in response. In the meantime, the Government have proved their ability to move quickly. For instance, others have mentioned the speed with which the Government acted to protect savers in Icelandic banks. However, when it comes to discussing the ombudsman’s report and tackling the problems of Equitable Life, they have been sitting on their hands.


It is time for the Government to respond to the report, to make the apology recommended by the ombudsman and to make payments to policyholders that reflect their losses. They may try to wriggle out of doing so, and they may use Lord Penrose’s words and say that Equitable Life was the author of its own misfortunes; but for a decade regulators failed to follow up the warning signs, and their failure to act resulted in opportunities being missed to force management to act properly and avoid the losses suffered by policyholders."

Ian Pearson, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, promised that the Government "will shortly respond fully to the ombudsman’s report". But why the delay?