How to Look up Parliamentary Questions
To search for my Parliamentary Questions, please go to POLIS (Parliamentary Online
Indexing Service) on the Parliament website: http://www.polis.parliament.uk/
If you wanted to see if I had asked any questions on say, cluster bombs, click on the
'Search Polis' link and then write the word cluster in the in the 'free text' field and in
the 'member' field, type JONES/LYNNE and this should bring up any relevant
questions. If I am still awaiting the answer it will say, Status: 'Order Book' and
if I have received the answer there should be a link to the Hansard record.
For information about the different types of PQ and procedures please see
the following House of Commons Fact Sheet: www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/fs46.pdf
How PQs can be used for policy analysis
In the run up to the war in 2002, I asked a series of
PQs about the ousting of Josť Bustani, the Director General of
the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. In June 2005, I was very
pleased to receive the following email:
Your Parliamentary written questions about Bustani was one of the
major motivations for getting our software written, because it's stuff that needs to be
accessible to the public.
No doubt you're already aware of the Associated Press report below.
At least with this system it's possible to annotate the answers with
important information that they left out:
Thanks for your work
The answer to a Parliamentary Question which I put to the Chancellor back in 2001
(below) shows that a large proportion of people on very low incomes are paying tax.
This is why I have long argued that a major simplification of the tax and benefit system
would be to raise personal allowances, the proportion of income on which we pay no tax at
all. For example, raising the personal allowance to £10,000 would avoid the present
situation in which millions of low to middle income taxpayers also receive benefits or tax
credits. The reduction in tax-take that would benefit the better off could be recouped by
withdrawing the 10p rate of tax, then taxing earnings between say £10,000 and £15,000 on
a standard rate of 20p and earnings between £15,000 and the higher earnings rate at an
intermediate 30p rate. The 22p rate is then just an unnecessary complexity. The result of
this proposal is that people on below average incomes would pay less tax overall and fewer
people would need to claim benefits or tax credits. The system would be simpler, easier to
use and we would save a small fortune on administration! In the long-run the tax allowance
could be converted into a Citizens Income.
12 December 2001
Lynne Jones: To
ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of people whose earnings were (a)
below a third and (b) between a third and a half of median male earnings paid tax
on each of the last six years. 
Dawn Primarolo: Estimates
of the proportion of taxpayers whose earnings were (a) below a third of male median
earnings, and (b) between a third and a half of male median earnings are in the
as a percentage of employees
||with earnings less than 1/3 of
male median earnings(38)
||with earnings between 1/3 and
1/2 of male median earnings(38)
(38) Male median earnings figures are based on New Earnings
Survey, full-time male employees on adult rates, whose pay for the survey period was
unaffected by absence.
estimates are based on the Survey of Personal Incomes and the employee estimates are based
on the Labour Force Survey. These estimates are subject to sampling errors and changes in
the percentages over time should be treated with caution.
For details of questions I have asked recently, see either the official Parliament
search engine, Polis or the site run by 'They Work for You'...