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19 Jan 2004 : Column 999W—continued

National Lottery

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many Lottery grants were given to (a) the hundred richest and (b) the hundred poorest wards in Wales, using the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation published by the National Assembly for Wales in 1999 (i) from the inception of the Lottery to 1 May 1997 and (ii) from 2 May 1997 to date. [148491]

Estelle Morris: I am arranging for copies of this information to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Rugby World Cup

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the total departmental cost was of visits to Australia for the Rugby World Cup. [145601]

Tessa Jowell: The total cost to the Department for the visits of two Ministers and officials to Australia for the Rugby World Cup was £44,161.

Security Passes

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many security passes have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen by staff in (i) her Department and (ii) departmental agencies in the last 12 months. [147984]

Mr. Caborn: In the 12 months since December 2002 three security passes, none of which identify the Department nor the buildings to which they allow access, have been reported as lost. There have been no reports of stolen passes. The Royal Parks Agency do not differentiate between lost and stolen cards and three have been reported lost/stolen in the relevant period. In all cases the cards are electronic and are de-activated as soon as a report is received.

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Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the balance of payments deficit in tourism was in each year since 1995. [149223]

Mr. Caborn: The balance of payments in tourism for the UK in each year since 1995 are shown in the following table.

Tourism balance of payments
£ million

Overseas residents' spending in the UKUK residents' spending abroadBalance of payments


International Passenger Survey, National Statistics


Ministers (Legal Fees)

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will publish a list of the ministers who, since May 1997, have benefited from the Government paying their legal fees. [142541]

The Solicitor-General [holding answer 11 December 2003]: The question of whether a Minister's legal fees should be paid by Government, i.e. out of public funds, is primarily a matter for the relevant departmental accounting officer, normally the Permanent Secretary for the Minister's Department. Whether or not a Minister's legal fees, for example in relation to some private litigation, are being paid out of public funds is not information which is held by the Treasury Solicitor's Department or by any other of the legal teams in the Government Legal Service. The source from which to obtain this information will be each of the Departments.

Serious Fraud Office

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Solicitor-General what recent assessment she has made of the work of the Serious Fraud Office; and if she will make a statement. [146163]

The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General and I meet the SFO Director on a regular (almost monthly) basis and on other occasions as required. These meetings are wide ranging and include casework, management and financial issues.

As well as our on-going contact the Director of the SFO is required to present the SFO's Annual Report to Parliament. The report details progress and performance of the SFO's operational activities. In addition the audited accounts of the SFO are laid before Parliament annually.

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The SFO continues to provide an effective response to the most serious and complex frauds. Since its inception the SFO has convicted 71 per cent. of defendants who were charged.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Solicitor-General how many (a) offences of fraud and (b) serious frauds, involving breaches of trust by professionals, were reported to the Serious Fraud Office in each of the last three years; how many prosecutions were initiated; what the outcome was in each case; and if she will make a statement. [146164]

The Solicitor General: The SFO does not routinely record the professions of individuals reported to them. The specific information requested could be produced only at disproportionate costs. It is however the case that the SFO has in the past and will continue to prosecute, where appropriate, professionals such as lawyers and accountants for fraud offences which meet the Department's criteria for acceptance of a case.

An ad hoc inspection of files reveals that since 1 January 2001 the SFO has commenced at least 10 investigations where one or more of the suspects is a qualified accountant or lawyer. In the cases identified there are total of 14 accountants or lawyers who are suspects. Prosecutions have commenced in some of these cases but they are yet to reach the trial stage.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Solicitor-General what plans she has to set up branches of the Serious Fraud Office in the regions. [146165]

The Solicitor-General: I have no current plans to set up regional offices; staff are employed and based in the regions from time to time in accordance with individual case demands. However, with nearly 50 per cent. of cases based in London and the South East and a current total permanent staff of some 240, it has so far proved not to be necessary or economic to establish a regional base. As the Serious Fraud Office expands this is something that will be kept under review.


Disabled Drivers

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research he has undertaken into the provision of a temporary disability scheme for car drivers to supplement the Orange Disk scheme. [148271]

Mr. McNulty: The Blue (formerly Orange) Badge Scheme provides a national arrangement of on-street parking concessions for disabled people with severe walking difficulties or the most severe upper limb disabilities and those who are registered blind. The Scheme was introduced in 1971 since when it has been the subject of several reviews.

The latest review was completed in December 2002. Ministers accepted the majority of the 47 recommendations made by our statutory advisers, the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, to improve the Scheme. We are taking these forward through changes to primary and secondary legislation, research and in new guidance to local authorities on the

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Scheme. The recommendations and the Government's response to them were placed in the House Libraries on 18 December 2002.

On the research side we are pursuing three projects arising from the review: one to look at the feasibility of setting up a database of blue badge holders to assist with enforcement; a second to examine the current exemption from the Scheme for the four Central London Boroughs; and a third to look at the case for extending eligibility to other groups of disabled people.

Drink Driving

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents were caused by drink driving in Lancashire in each of the last five years. [148364]

Mr. Jamieson: Whether an accident was caused by drink-driving is not recorded as part of the Department's personal injury accident database. However the following table shows the number and severity of accidents in Lancashire where at least one of the drivers involved provided a positive breath test or refused to provide a breath test.

Accidents involving positive breath tests in Lancashire


Speed Cameras

Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road traffic speed cameras there are in the area covered by the Lancashire Constabulary; and what the estimated revenue from them is in the current financial year. [147536]

Mr. Jamieson: Currently there are 210 fixed speed camera sites and 60 mobile sites within the Lancashire Safety Camera Partnership area. Estimated revenue from fixed penalties for speeding offences detailed in the partnerships operational case for 2003–04 is £7,200,000, although this amount will depend on the number of motorists that exceed the speed limit. The portion returned to the partnership is that needed to cover the cost of their camera activity.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the criteria for the installation of speed cameras, with particular reference to the cameras sited at (a) Highlands Road, Fareham and (b) Gosport Road, Fareham. [147155]

Mr. Jamieson: Speed cameras within the Safety Camera Programme are sited in accordance with the Handbook of Rules to the scheme which is available in the Library of the House. The two camera sites referred to fully meet both the casualty criteria and conspicuity and visibility criteria.

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