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Wednesday 9th January 2013 | 17:02
Brandon Lewis is already making his mark as one of Eric Pickles' hardy band of cost-cutters.
Today, he turned inside out the traditional logic of the Parliamentary Answer that normally allows a minister to refuse to reply on grounds of 'disproportionate cost'.
Kevan Jones has been tabling a series of Questions, aimed at getting an ironic response perhaps on the cost of compiling a DCLG document '50 Ways to Save'.
But Lewis has a sense of humour of his own - as the exchange below (just published) suggests. Watch this row run and run.
Kevan Jones (North Durham, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many officials of his Department were involved in the production and publication of the document, 50 Ways to Save: Examples of Sensible Savings in Local Government; and how many hours such staff spent producing the document.
Brandon Lewis (Great Yarmouth, Conservative)
A number of staff assisted with the document, but I do not consider it a good use of public resources to ask staff to fill out time sheets to answer the hon. Member's question.
I would note that otherwise there was no substantive cost to the Department in producing the in-house, online publication.
The document aims to give advice to councils on practical ways of cutting costs and saving taxpayers' money
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