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12 Feb 2004 : Column 1670Wcontinued
Mr. Leslie: It is planned to reconvene the Joint Working Party on Equal Opportunities in Judicial Appointments and Silk in the next couple of months to discuss the outcome of last year's consultation paper on the future of judicial appointments and issues concerning diversity in the judiciary.
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Mr. Leslie: There are 24,419 magistrates in England and Wales excluding the Duchy of Lancaster (where the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is responsible for appointments). There are 3,925 magistrates in the Duchy of Lancaster bringing the overall total of magistrates to 28,344. In England and Wales (excluding the Duchy) 1,490 magistrates declare themselves to be from a black and ethnic minority (BME) group, which is 6.1 per cent. In the Duchy of Lancaster there are 219 magistrates from BME groups, which is 5.6 per cent. Therefore the overall total of magistrates from a BME group is 1,709 which is 6 per cent. As at 1 January 2004, of 3,613 judicial officers in England and Wales (excluding tribunals), 130 declared themselves to be of minority ethnic origin. This represents 3.6 per cent. of the total. The following table gives a breakdown of judges in post for the main judicial offices, who have declared themselves to be of minority ethnic origin.
John Mann: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment he has made of separating the legal aid budget into separate accounts for (a) civil, including family, (b) criminal and (c) asylum cases. 
Mr. Lammy: Separate accounts are already prepared for civil including family, criminal, and asylum. Asylum legal aid forms part of a single fund covering the Home Office and Department for Constitutional Affairs asylum and immigration expenditure. Criminal and civil legal aid are contained within the DCA Departmental Expenditure Limit.
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administering the work of the Legal Aid Board in 1996; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: It is not possible to provide the information in the form requested, as the Legal Aid Board did not calculate salaries on a calendar year basis. The total amount paid in salaries and wages to those employed by the Legal Aid Board in the financial year 199697 was £22,003,000.
Ian Lucas: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) how many solicitors firms in Wrexham carried out publicly funded matrimonial legal help work in the last three years for which records are available; 
(3) how many matrimonial matter legal help starts were (a) allocated and (b) used in Wrexham in the last three years for which figures are available; 
(4) how much was paid to solicitors' firms in Wrexham for matrimonial legal help work in the last three years for which records are available. 
Mr. Lammy: The following table indicates the number of family contractors, the number of family legal help matter starts allocated and started, and the cost of claims for those matters, in Wrexham over the last three years.
In addition to these contracts, the North Wales Family Mediation Service is based in Llandudno and has outposts in Wrexham and Bangor. The service undertakes a large amount of work from the Wrexham outpost, but the Legal Services Commission (LSC) is unable to quantify the breakdown of work undertaken geographically and how much of the money the LSC paid the service overall relates specifically to Wrexham. In 200203 the LSC paid the service a total of £58,562.59.
|Number of family legal help contracts||10||9||9||8|
|Number of family legal help matter starts awarded||1,131||1,276||1,326||1,084|
|Number of family legal help matters started||960||1,085||1,109||(16)|
|Cost of claims for family legal help work (£)||115,427||162,721||226,206||(16)|
(16) Full year figures are not available.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much was paid in salaries to those employed in dealing with or administering the work of the Legal Services Commission during calendar year 2003; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: The Legal Services Commission is not able to provide the information in the exact form requested, as it does not calculate salaries on a calendar year basis. The total amount paid in salaries and wages to those employed by the Legal Services Commission in the financial year 200203 was £35,056,000.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many security passes have been reported (a) lost and (b) stolen by staff in his Department in the last 12 months. 
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Mr. Leslie: In the last 12 months, 113 security passes have been reported lost and 16 reported stolen by staff within the Department for Constitutional Affairs. One security pass has been reported lost in the Scotland Office and there have been no reported lost or stolen passes in the Wales Office.
Live video links between courts and prisons can currently be used for preliminary court hearings and the Government are considering whether, subject to the provision of suitable safeguards, these can be extended to sentencing.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Prime Minister how many staff in his Office have been (a) suspended, (b) dismissed, (c) prosecuted and (d) convicted for involvement in benefit fraud in each of the last six years; and what the amounts involved in each of those cases were. 
Andy King: To ask the Prime Minister how many FTSE 350 companies have (a) made representations to him regarding his challenge of October 2000 to produce reports on their social and environmental impacts and (b) published such reports. 
The Prime Minister: I have received eight corporate social reports on this issue. Following my challenge, a summary of a survey conducted by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs of environmental reporting by the FTSE 350 was placed in the Library of the House in July 2002.
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The Prime Minister: The Government have done a great deal to increase the openness and transparency of their proceedings. The Freedom of Information Act is a significant step forward that will be implemented from January 2005 and we will continue to keep under review further steps towards greater openness.
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