April 2, 2009 12:00 AM

Government departments such as the Treasury, the Department for Business and the Department for Work and Pensions are failing to respond to the increasing number of inquiries from members of the public, figures released today have shown.

The information, taken from department performance figures, shows that while MPs are increasingly being asked to contact the Government on behalf of constituents who have been affected by the recession, some are unable to reply to one in three letters on time.

Figures show that:

· DWP, Treasury and DBERR have collectively received 15,026 more letters from Parliamentarians this year, more than half of the total across all Government departments.

· These departments failed to reply on time to 9,318 letters in 2008, nearly triple the number in 2007.

· One in three letters isn't answered on time at DBERR and one in four at other departments

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, Jenny Willott said:

"MPs and Peers are increasingly being asked to write to the Government on behalf of members of the public hit by the recession, yet ministers seem to be incapable of handling these letters quickly and efficiently.

"Peter Mandelson's department is one of the worst offenders. Not only is it incapable of getting financial support out to struggling businesses, but their backlog of cases is getting bigger and bigger.

"Members of the public hit by the recession need and deserve to have their individual cases looked at as a matter of urgency. The Government needs to ensure that the Departments on the frontline of dealing with the impact of the recession are able to respond to these cases on time."

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