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Mr. Boateng: A large number of staff in the Departments and agencies responsible to the Chancellor of the Exchequer will have contributed to the drafting of answers to the 10,625 parliamentary questions answered
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Ruth Kelly: The Government value the contribution made to the UK economy by the Baltic Exchange and the supporting maritime services that are located in the UK. International Financial Services London (IFSL) have estimated that the Baltic Exchange and its associated ship brokers contributed £327 million to the UK's overseas earnings in 2000.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from (a) the quarry industry and (b) brick-makers concerning the introduction of the aggregates levy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Boateng: A number of discussions have recently been held at both ministerial and official level with representatives of the aggregates and associated industries throughout the UK about the implementation of the aggregates levy.
Ruth Kelly: Figures for 200102 and 200203 are not yet available. There are currently five special advisers appointed under special adviser terms and conditions and in line with the ministerial code.
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the last three years under (a) the new deal for young people, (b) the new deal for the over-50s and (c) the new deal for lone parents; and at what cost, listed by category, to public funds. 
The Solicitor-General (holding answer 25 March 2002): My own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, has not employed any persons under the new deal schemes during the last three years.
In each of the last three years, the CPS has employed two people under the new deal scheme. The recruitment exercises were for the new deal scheme in general and were not specific to any of the categories identified. Both officers were offered a one-year fixed term contract (unsubsidised) as a Level A2 (Administrative Officer), and placed on the band minimum for that level. The posts were advertised through local job centres and, therefore, there were no costs to the Department.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Solicitor-General how many cases have been brought against her Department under the Human Rights Act 1998; and what has been the cost in (a) legal fees to defend cases and (b) compensation payments. 
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 25 March 2002]: In relation to my own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, no cases have been brought against the Department under the Human Rights Act 1998.
The Crown Prosecution Service does not monitor centrally those cases that include a claim under the Human Rights Act, or collect information centrally in relation to the cost of these cases in terms of legal fees to defend the cases or compensation payments.
No records of cases against the Crown Prosecution Service are kept and the Department does not collect separate information centrally about the cost of legal fees and compensation payments in these cases.
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Treasury Solicitor's Department
The Treasury Solicitor's Department conducts litigation on behalf of many Government Departments but does not hold central records identifying all cases in which the Human Rights Act is relied upon. In relation to those cases where the Treasury Solicitor's Department is a party to litigation, the position is the same. Human rights are now integrated into the general law and are rarely the sole basis for a legal challenge. In relation to those cases brought against the Department, two have been identified which included human rights points.
The Treasury Solicitor's Department does not collect separate information centrally about the cost of legal fees or compensation payments in cases which include human rights issues. In most cases it will be difficult to single out associated costs relating to the human rights element of a case.
The Serious Fraud Office knows of no cases where the actions of its members or the use of its statutory powers have been challenged under the Human Rights Act. However, the Act permits Convention points to be raised, either by themselves or together with domestic law, in support of legal argument in criminal proceedings, or in judicial review applications. Obviously, since the implementation of the Act, Convention points have been raised frequently in litigation in SFO cases, principally in support of complaints of unreasonable delay. It is impossible to separate the cost of defending Human Rights Act arguments from prosecution costs generally but neither do we consider that there would be any justifiable case for doing so.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Solicitor-General what the target time will be in 200203 for (a) Ministers to reply to letters from hon. Members and (b) officials in her Department to reply to letters received directly from members of the public. 
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 25 March 2002]: In my own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, the target for replies to letters from hon. Members is 15 working days from the date of receipt and 20 working days from the date of receipt to reply to letters from members of the public.
The Crown Prosecution Service has a target for responses to complaints from members of the public. The target for 200203 is to increase to 94 per cent. the proportion of replies to complaints which are made within 10 days.
The Treasury Solicitor, as Chief Executive of the Treasury Solicitor's Department Agency, replies to letters from hon. Members concerning the business of the Agency. She will in 200203 continue to aim to do so substantively within 15 working days of receipt of such letters.
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Only the Bona Vacantia Division of the agency receives appreciable quantities of letters direct from members of the public. It has targets for 200203 of acknowledging letters within five working days of the date of receipt and dispatching, in 80 per cent. of cases, substantive replies within 20 working days of that date.
Under the Citizen's Charter, the SFO has accepted targets for dealing with correspondence and agreed to monitor achievement. These targets are that all correspondence from members of the public should be disposed of within four weeks of receipt and that correspondence from hon. Members should be disposed of within three weeks of receipt. The SFO exceeds these targets in virtually all instances. Most correspondents receive a reply within a single working week.
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