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20. Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans she has to meet representatives of pensioners in Scotland to discuss the uptake of minimum income guarantee and the pensions credit. 
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24. Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will make a statement on delays in payment of compensation to those with asbestos-related diseases in Scotland and the action taken by her to reduce delays. 
Mrs. Liddell: I held a meeting on 24 April to discuss delays in dealing with claims against Chester Street. I have also issued a newsletter to all Scottish MPs. Progress is being made and a Service Standard has been laid down for dealing with Chester Street claims. Under this Service Standard, where damages are agreed and payment is due from the Association of British Insurers or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, claims will be processed and paid within 25 working days. This timetable is dependent on documents requiring a claimant's signature being returned promptly.
Mrs. McGuire: The levy came into effect on 1 April 2002. It has been introduced to address the environmental impacts of the extraction and transportation of aggregates, including noise, dust, vibration, visual intrusion, loss of biodiversity and amenity. The levy will result in prices for primary aggregates which better reflect these environmental costs, and so encourage both the use of recycled aggregates as an alternative and more efficient use of aggregates.
Part of the revenue from the aggregates levy will be used to establish the new Sustainability Fund, which will promote environmentally beneficial practices such as the use of recycled aggregate. Scotland stands to benefit from some £3 million from the fund.
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Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Cabinet Office what the median length of time has been between the departure of a chief executive and the commencement in post of a successor for all non-departmental public bodies since 1997. 
Mr. Alexander: Following the machinery of Government changes announced by the Prime Minister on 29 May, none of the non-departmental public bodies for which the Cabinet Office is responsible require a chief executive or equivalent.
The first step in this process is well under way with the introduction of a modern IT infrastructure and is 75 per cent. complete in the magistrates courts. Subject to funding, it will be completed in 2004 for the Crown and civil courts.
Yvette Cooper: As the hon. Member may know, my noble and learned Friend recently discovered that 22 people have been appointed as magistrates contrary to the nationality requirements of the Act of Settlement 1701. This Act requires people seeking a place of trust under the Crown to hold citizenship of Britain, Eire or a Commonwealth country. We are considering ways to allow the 22 people to return to sitting at the earliest opportunity.
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Ms Rosie Winterton: I refer the hon. Member to the number of written questions I have answered on this subject. Any official papers relating to the abdication of King Edward VIII will need to be re-reviewed by Departments. It is hoped that the results of the review will be known and put into effect by the end of the year.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Queen's Counsel system is one of a number of issues relating to the legal profession raised in the OFT report, which fall to my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor to consider. The Government plan to consult on those issues before the summer recess.
Yvette Cooper: Magistrates courts committees (MCCs) are taking account of the need of rural users in the delivery of their services, by taking forward the rural proofing initiative, as set out in the rural White Paper. The Countryside Agency's rural proofing checklist was sent to all 42 MCCs in May 2001, to encourage MCCs to take into account the interests of rural communities when developing or implementing existing or new policy.
Furthermore, my Department has been and continues to work closely with the Countryside Agency and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, to put in place protocols to ensure that rural proofing options are carefully considered, before any decisions on the future of magistrates courts are concluded.
42. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when she next expects to meet representatives of the magistracy to discuss magistrates courts in small towns. 
Yvette Cooper: My predecessor my hon. Friend the Member for North Swindon (Mr. Wills) said in the debates on 1 May and 15 May that he would meet representatives of the magistracy to discuss magistrates' courts in Essex and Wiltshire. My office is in the process of arranging these meetings, but no dates have yet been confirmed.
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The Court Service recognises that while witnesses are on court premises we have a responsibility to do what we can to prevent intimidation. For example, in all 67 designated street crime courts witnesses use a separate entrance or are segregated immediately on arrival. Provision for segregated waiting arrangements are made, as well as for separate catering and toilets to be used.
40. Julie Morgan: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what discussions the Lord Chancellor has had with the National Assembly for Wales about the operation of CAFCASS in Wales. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: None. Since the creation of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS), representatives of CAFCASS at board and director level have met, among others, the Assembly Minister for Health and Social Services, Jane Hutt, and the Heads of Government Offices in Wales. The director and members of CAFCASS (Cymru) have also attended a number of conferences organised by the National Assembly for Wales.
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