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Parliamentary Questions

MPs can pose Parliamentary Questions (PQs) on any subject to the relevant Secretary of State to access information and to press the Government on matters of concern.  Please also see below for details of how to look up my other questions:

How to Look up Parliamentary Questions

To search for my Parliamentary Questions, please go to POLIS (Parliamentary Online Indexing Service) on the Parliament website:
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:

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 José 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 Citizen’s 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. [20456]

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 table:

  Employee taxpayers as a percentage of employees
Year with earnings less than 1/3 of male median earnings(38) with earnings between 1/3 and 1/2 of male median earnings(38)
1995-96 61 95
1996-97 56 91
1997-98 56 93
1998-99 56 100
1999-2000 59 100
2000-01 69 100

(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.

The taxpayer 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'...



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