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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the EU Committee for the adaptation to technical progress of directives on the removal of technical barriers to trade in the sector of motor vehicles and their trailers is next due to meet; whether representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.
No date has yet been fixed for the next meeting of this committee but we expect it to be held in the autumn. Officials from my Department represent the UK on the committee as policy responsibility for motor vehicle and trailer technical standards is a reserved matter.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the EU Committee for the Adaptation to Technical Progress of Directives on the Removal of Technical Barriers to Trade in the Sector of Agricultural and Forestry Tractors is next due to meet; whether representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.
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No date has yet been fixed for the next meeting of this committee. Officials from my Department represent the UK on this committee as policy responsibility for agricultural and forestry tractor technical standards is a reserved matter.
Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action she is taking to improve corporate attitudes to health and safety. 
Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.
The Government and the Health and Safety Commission will continue to pursue measures, launched in 2001 to implement key aspects of the Revitalising Health and Safety strategy, aimed at promoting greater corporate responsibility for health and safety. These include voluntary measures to improve the reporting of the management of health and safety by top companies from the current level of 50 per cent. and increase board and directors' responsibility for, and involvement in, managing the risks to occupational health and safety.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what proportion of magistrates court cases were adjourned in each year since 1992 (a) in total, (b) through non-attendance of witnesses and (c) through non-attendance of defendants. 
Yvette Cooper: This information is not available. Data on adjourned cases in magistrates courts were not collected on a national basis (England and Wales) until April of this year. The first quarterly figures will be available later this year. Figures from the pilot scheme which ran for three months in nine magistrates courts committee areas (April to June 2001) show that out of a total of 6,213 trials, 1,176 were logged as adjourned trials. 338 (29 per cent.) of these adjourned trials were caused when the witnesses (prosecution and defence) failed to attend and 260 (22 per cent.) were adjourned due to the non-attendance of the defendants.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the estimated cost was of cases adjourned in magistrates courts in each year since 1992. 
Yvette Cooper: This information is not available. Data on adjourned cases in magistrates courts did not start to be collected on a national basis (England and Wales) until April of this year. This new collection exercise started as a result of the National Audit Office report in December 1999 which identified that over £41 million a year was wasted on cracked and ineffective hearings. Pilot work was then undertaken and a scheme developed with the Crown Prosecution Service and other criminal justice agencies before the full national data collection scheme started in April 2002. The first quarterly figures are due to be available later this year.
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Mr. Gibb: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what proportion of fine- defaulters on income support and income-related jobseeker's allowance were subject to three or more attachment of benefit orders for any period since 1990 for which figures are available. 
Yvette Cooper: This information is currently not collected centrally but we are examining whether it would be possible by research or sampling to estimate the data requested, as well as new ways to collect information on defendant means.
Mr. Chope: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if the Government will introduce legislation to ensure that it is always lawful to display the Union Jack. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government see no need to introduce such legislation. There are no restrictions under the general law on the display of the Union Flag on land in England and Wales other than those imposed by the provisions of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and the Trade Marks Act 1994, which relate to the reproduction of flags in trade marks. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issues guidance, in consultation with the Lord Chamberlain's Office, as to the days The Queen has approved for flags to be flown from Government buildings.
British ships are entitled to fly the Red Ensign, which includes a Union Flag in the corner. This is internationally recognised at sea as the flag of a British ship.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to the answer of 8 January 2002, Official Report, column 610W, when she will make her final decision about the conduct of Judge Hutton; and if she will make a statement. 
Yvette Cooper: The Lord Chancellor has now received his officials' report about the conduct of Judge Hutton, who was alleged to have fallen asleep in court last December. He is considering the contents and expects to make a public statement about his final decision shortly.
Mr. Randall: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what her policy is on using 0870 telephone numbers for inquiries by the public to the Department and its agencies. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: None of the telephone lines made available by the Lord Chancellor's Department for public inquiry currently use 0870 telephone numbers.
Ms Shipley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what evidence she has received from (a) Women's Aid, (b) the NSPCC and (c) other children's organisations regarding unsupervised contact; and will she make a statement. 
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Ms Rosie Winterton: I have received information from the Women's Aid Federation of England, the NSPCC, Barnardos and NCH on unsupervised contact. Specifically I have received information in which it is alleged that 15 children have been killed during unsupervised contact. I have undertaken to investigate these cases in partnership with the Home Office and Department of Health.
Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many people voted by (a) text-mail in the Sheffield area and (b) e-mail, telephone and mobile in St. Albans; and what plans there are to extend e-voting to other parts of the UK. 
Mr. Leslie: I have been asked to reply.
In the three wards in Sheffield where the electoral pilot scheme was conducted in the May 2002 local election, 1,327 people voted by SMS text message. In addition, 2,833 people used the internet to vote, 61 people used electronic kiosks, 912 people used postal votes and 7,978 voted in conventional polling stations.
In the two wards in St. Albans where the electoral pilot scheme took place, 825 people voted using the internet and 744 voted by telephone (landline or mobile). In addition, 377 used postal votes and 1,095 people voted at electronic kiosks in polling stations or a local supermarket.
We intend in September to issue a prospectus inviting local authorities to participate in further pilot schemes in the May 2003 elections. Our prospectus will take account of the Electoral Commission's formal evaluation of each of the May 2002 electoral pilot schemes, which will be presented to the Deputy Prime Minister shortly.
Mr. Forth: To ask the President of the Council, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Vale of Clwyd (Chris Ruane) on 7 May 2002, Official Report, column 74W, on Members' pensions, when the statutory instrument to give effect to the recommendations of the SSRB will be tabled. 
Mr. Robin Cook: In July of last year the House voted to increase the accrual rate of the parliamentary pension from one-fiftieth to one-fortieth. The Government did not accept the proposal in the resolution that all the cost should fall on the Exchequer. I therefore announced on 7 May that I had referred the cost of this improvement to the SSRB.
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The SSRB has now reported. In brief, they recommend that the cost of the faster accrual rate, which is estimated at 5.1 per cent. of pay, should in the short-term be split with Members contributing 3 per cent. and the Exchequer contributing 2.1 per cent. The SSRB further recommends that this additional Exchequer contribution should be taken into account in subsequent reviews of MPs pay so that eventually the full cost of the accrual rate is borne by MPs.
The Government accept these recommendations of the SSRB. I am therefore today laying an Order giving effect to the new accrual rate and also to other recommendations of the SSRB which the House approved last July.
There are two remaining issues, whether survivor pensions should be extended to unmarried adult dependants and whether survivor pensions should continue if a spouse remarries. It is the Government's policy that neither the cost of extending pensions to surviving adult dependants, nor that of the SSRB recommendation to pay pensions to surviving spouses for life, should fall on the taxpayer. Following the vote last year, the trustees of the pension scheme were asked to consider how these proposals could best be implemented at no cost to the Exchequer. The trustees only reported on 5 July. There has not therefore been sufficient notice for the Government to reach a view on these proposals and whether they do protect the taxpayer against any additional cost. I expect to bring forward proposals to the House in the autumn. Changes will be backdated to today's date.
The new contribution rate for Members will be 9 per cent. of pay. The statutory instrument provides that contracting into the new accrual rate will be optional for existing members of the scheme.
I hope this sensible compromise will be welcome. I believe it fairly recognises the decline in the average length of service of MPs, which has had the effect that only a handful of Members now achieve the maximum pension entitlement.
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