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Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioners have been awarded (a) Income Support and (b) the Minimum Income Guarantee in each quarter since 1997; and how many of these new claims can be attributed to a take-up campaign. 
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1. Pensioners are defined where the claimant and/or partner are aged 60 or over
2. Figures are based on a 5 per cent. sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling error
3. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred and are expressed in thousands
4. Numbers are based on point in time inquiries therefore no account can be taken of influxes and outflows between the dates of inquiries. This will underestimate the true levels of flows onto benefit
Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiries, November 1996 to November 2000
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what arrangements are in place to ensure that issues of (a) NHS News and (b) NHS Plan News, distributed during a General Election campaign comply with requirements for Government publications during General Election campaigns. 
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Marjorie Mowlam: Once a General Election is announced, guidance is issued to all Government Departments on questions of procedure and conduct during the period of the Election. This guidance will seek to ensure that no action is taken that could call into question the political impartiality of the Civil Service or give rise to criticism that public funds are being used for party political purposes. The guidance will be made public.
Mr. Hammond: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will place in the Library details of the requirements with which Government publications must comply during General Election campaigns. 
The Solicitor-General: When deciding whether a sentence is unduly lenient, I look to the relevant statutory provisions and to the judgments of the Court of Appeal in similar cases. These will guide me when determining the appropriate range of sentence for particular offenders.
I may only refer sentences that are unduly lenient, not merely lenient. The Court of Appeal has held that an unduly lenient sentence is one which falls outside the range of sentences that a judge, taking into consideration all the relevant factors, could reasonably consider appropriate.
35. Helen Jackson: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will make a statement on the policy adopted by the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure the effective prosecution of incidents of domestic violence. 
The Solicitor-General: Domestic violence is criminal behaviour. The Crown Prosecution Service regards it as a serious matter and will prosecute wherever it is proper to do so. The CPS recognises that safety, support and information are special priorities for victims of domestic violence and it is in this context that prosecutors will consider the range of prosecution options available.
The CPS is currently reviewing its policy on prosecuting cases of domestic violence to see if any improvements can be made; its policy has been and will continue to be that stopping domestic violence is a priority for our society. The CPS is committed to working with its partners in the criminal justice system to achieve this and has been consulting widely with the public and voluntary sectors as part of the review.
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The Solicitor-General: Following successful implementation of the Narey fast tracking arrangements for magistrates court business in 2000, the Crown Prosecution Service and magistrates court managers in Buckinghamshire have worked hard to promote efficient listing practices in the magistrates courts. As a result, there has been effective deployment of two designated caseworkers to prosecute suitable court lists.
More recently, Buckinghamshire Crown Prosecution Service has participated with other agencies to secure agreement to an effective protocol for the accelerated sending of indictable only cases to the Crown court from 15 January 2001. This includes convenient arrangements to deal locally with the preliminary Crown court hearing of certain cases where otherwise those hearings would have been dealt with at a Crown court outside the Thames Valley area.
The Solicitor-General: Over the last three years the service has improved its performance in relation to eight key measures: the proportion of advance information sent to the defence within agreed time scales rose from 77.3 per cent. in 1997-98 to 86.6 per cent. in 1999-2000; the proportion of committal papers served on the defence within agreed time scales rose from 50.6 per cent. in 1997-98 to 76.6 per cent. in 2000-01; and the proportion of briefs sent to counsel within agreed time scales rose from 66.3 per cent. in 1997-98 to 77.1 per cent. in 2000-01.
Over the same period there were also improvements in the timeliness of payment of witness expenses, of replies to complaints and of replies to correspondence from Members of Parliament. More recently and most importantly, there has been a reduction in the number of adverse outcomes of cases attributable to CPS failings.
Measures relating to the quality of performance are under development to ensure that the improvements set out are matched by progress in the quality of the service provided to CPS customers and to the public.
In addition to these statistics, which are all reported in the CPS Annual Report, Her Majesty's CPS Inspectorate conduct a rolling inspection programme and each CPS area is scheduled to be inspected every two years. Reports of such area inspections are available to the public.
The Solicitor-General: An Equality Committee and an Equality and Diversity Unit were set up to turn the Crown Prosecution Service's equality statement into a reality. All staff employed by the CPS are being trained in equality and Diversity (with a specific emphasis on race). In October 2000, at a conference of all senior managers a major part of the programme was concerned with racial equality issues. In February 2001, a one day race event was run for a cross section of 250 members of staff.
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The Solicitor-General: The Serious Fraud Office investigates and prosecutes cases of serious and complex fraud. It will investigate allegations of money laundering where the activities alleged involve or are involved in offences of serious or complex crime.
The range of offences that can lead to money laundering is wide and varied and includes drugs offences, robbery, theft and tax evasion as well as fraud. As a result, the Serious Fraud Office works in partnership with other prosecuting agencies such as the police, Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue as well as the Financial Services Authority, both to prevent and to prosecute money laundering offences.
Following conviction, the Serious Fraud Office seeks confiscation orders, in addition to the other sentences available to judges, wherever possible, to send a strong deterrent message to would-be offenders both in this country and abroad.
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