At the beginning of each year, I table a Question asking how many items of mail were received in the Palace of Westminster in the previous year and what proportion is received in the House of Lords.
I have just had the answer to my Question for 2008. Last year, 4,135,144 items of post were received by the Houses of Parliament. The House of Lords received an estimated 15 per cent of this number, or approximately 620,271 items. The figures do not include parcels, courier items or internal mail.
The difference between the two Houses is explained in large part by the fact that we do not get constituency mail and, to some degree, because outside organisations are not always aware of the value of the Lords. In absolute terms, though, the figure is not insubstantial and, given our limited (or non-existent) secretarial resources, dealing with it can place quite a burden on members. The figure also does not do justice to the amount of material in our mail trays. A good part, sometimes the majority, of my mail is internal mail and there is an increasing volume of e-mail correspondence (though again much of that is internal, emanating for example from all-party groups). Keeping up with it is certainly a challenge.