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Museums and Galleries

Sir Patrick Cormack: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will list the attendance figures for the financial year ended 31 March reported by the national museums and galleries for which he is responsible, broken down into the individual institutions, including their outstations, with figures in each case of the percentage change on the attendance figures for the preceding year. [8976]

Mr. Fisher [holding answer 21 July 1997]: The table lists the number of visits to the 12 national museums and galleries in England for the financial year ended 31 March 1997. The information has been provided by the institutions. The year-on-year changes are affected by a number of factors, including variations to the exhibition programmes of each of the institutions and closures to gallery spaces due to major refurbishments.

Number of visits in 1995-96 (millions)Number of visits in 1996-97 (millions)Percentage increase/decrease over the previous year(1)
British Museum(2)6.106.80+11.5
Imperial War Museum1.301.28-1.5
Lambeth Road0.460.49+6.5
HMS Belfast0.220.19-13.6
Cabinet War Rooms0.250.23-8
Duxford Airfield0.370.370
National Gallery(2)4.55.0+11.1
National Maritime Museum(3)0.580.48-17.2
National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside(4)1.231.22-0.8
Liverpool Museum0.470.40-14.9
Maritime Museum0.350.36+2.9
Walker Art Gallery0.230.20-13
Lady Lever Art Gallery0.060.07+16.7
Sudley House0.030.030
Museum of Liverpool Life0.090.13+44.5
Conservation Centre--0.03--
National Portrait Gallery(2)(5)0.820.86+4.9
Natural History Museum1.461.80+23.3
South Kensington1.411.75+24.1
Zoological Museum at Tring0.050.050
National Museum of Science and Industry2.702.53-6.4
Science Museum1.621.47-9.3
National Museum of Photography and Film at Bradford0.610.62+1.6
National Railway Museum at York0.430.40-6.8
Tate Gallery(2)3.062.48-19.0
St. Ives0.190.190
Victoria and Albert Museum(6)1.541.59+3.2
South Kensington1.171.25+6.8
Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood(2)0.190.17-10.5
Theatre Museum0.110.12+9.1
Wellington Museum0.070.05-28.6
Wallace Collection(2)0.160.18+12.5
Royal Armouries(7)0.240.79+229.1
Museum of Artillery at Fort Nelson0.240.32+31.0
New Museum at Leeds--0.47--

(1) Percentage changes are calculated by reference to the rounded figures, not the underlying data.

(2) The number of visits to premises for which admission is not charged is estimated or counted by other means.

(3) The figure for the national maritime museum includes the old royal observatory and Queen's house.

(4) National museums and galleries on Merseyside's conservation centre opened to the public in October 1996. It introduced admission charges to all its institutions on 8 July 1997. Therefore, figures before these dates are estimates only.

(5) Combined attendance at Bodelwyddan castle, operated by an independent charitable trust, Gawthorpe hall, Beningbrough hall and Montacute house, operated by the National Trust, was 815,156 in 1995-96 and 857,085 in 1996-97. These buildings house part of the national portrait gallery's collection.

(6) Prior to 1 October 1996, the Victoria and Albert museum at south Kensington operated a policy of suggested donations.

(7) It is not possible to identify accurately the number of visits to the royal armouries in HM tower of London. These are contained within the figure issued by the Historic Royal Palaces agency. The figures are not available for 1995-96 for visitors to royal armouries at Leeds.

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Legal Aid (Fees)

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when legal aid fees for advice and assistance were last set; what the hourly rate

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is; and what the hourly rate would currently be if it had been uprated in line with (a) inflation and (b) increases in average professional civil service pay rates. [10165]

Mr. Hoon: The present remuneration rates for legal aid advice and assistance were set in April 1996. It is not possible to provide figures adjusted by the increase in

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professional civil servant pay rates because pay levels are determined by Departments. Central figures are not kept and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

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The table shows the current rates and the rates uprated by inflation and by the increase in public administration earnings.

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Green form ratesUprated by GDPUprated by increase in public administration earnings(8)
Firms holding a franchise from the Legal Aid Board
Travelling and waiting25.5026.1425.93
Letter and telephone calls3.703.793.76
Travelling and waiting25.5026.1425.93
Letter and telephone calls3.553.643.61
All Other Firms
Travelling and waiting24.5025.1124.92
Letter and telephone calls3.553.643.61
Travelling and waiting24.5025.1124.92
Letter and telephone calls3.403.493.46

(8) Source: Employment Gazette.

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Legal Aid (Medical Negligence)

Mr. Lock: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how much was paid out by the Legal Aid Board in respect of medical negligence legal actions brought against NHS trusts and health authorities in irrecoverable costs; and what was the total sum recovered in damages in such cases in the last three years.[10084]

Mr. Hoon: Information in the form requested is not available because the Legal Aid Board's database does not record the name or status of the assisted party's opponent. However, the total paid out of the legal aid fund and recoveries in medical negligence cases in each of the last three years was as follows:

Gross paymentsDamages recoveredCosts recovered/ set offNet costs to fund

Frederick West

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if the estate of the late Frederick West is now solvent. [10136]

Mr. Hoon: The Government have no involvement with the West estate. The Official Solicitor, who is independent of the Government, has been appointed as administrator of the West estate by the court. Like any other administrator, he is accountable only to the court and, through the court, to the beneficiaries. The distribution of

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the estate and any income derived from it is a matter of law. Any questions on the estate should be addressed to the Official Solicitor.


Monetary Policy Committee

Mr. Denzil Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set up a register of interests for the members of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England. [10378]

Mrs. Liddell: The Chancellor's letter of 6 May to the Governor setting out the new monetary policy framework states that the four members of the Monetary Policy Committee appointed from outside the Bank will be allowed to engage in other activities only if they do not give rise to a conflict of interest and that they must seek the Chancellor's approval before so doing. They will provide the Bank with a full list of any outside activities. All the other members of the committee are subject to the Bank's terms and conditions of service for staff, which prohibit any activities that might lead to a conflict of interest. In the light of these provisions, there is no need for a register of interests for the members of the committee.

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