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Unemployment (Greater London)

Tom Cox: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of people over the age of 60 years living within the Greater London area have been unemployed for longer than 12 months. [194154]

Mr. Timms: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl to Mr. Tom Cox, dated 1 November 2004:

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Ancient Churches

26. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what representations the Commissioners have made to the Government about the use of public funds for the upkeep of ancient churches. [194593]

Sir Stuart Bell: The Commissioners have made no such representations. However, as members of the Church of England's Church Heritage Forum, they are joined in the statement "Building faith in our future" which celebrates the unique contribution of church buildings and seeks the kind of partnerships with Government, local authorities and others that will enhance that contribution for the benefit of future generations.


Civil Servants (Yorkshire)

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many full-time equivalent jobs (a) his Department and (b) its executive agencies had in (i) Yorkshire and the Humber and (ii) the City of York in (A) 1997 and (B) the latest year for which figures are available. [191838]

Mr. Lammy: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 25 October 2004, Official Report, column 1053W, by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Cabinet Office.


Mr. Dobson: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the estimated saving to the Magistrates Courts Service is of the transfer of licensing functions from magistrates courts to local authorities. [194112]

Mr. Leslie: On 10 July 2003, the Licensing Act received Royal Assent. The Act transfers responsibility for the administration of licences from magistrates courts to licensing authorities, although magistrates will hear appeals against the licensing authorities' decisions.

Currently, the principle is that the cost to magistrates courts of the administration of licensing is covered by the licensing fees charged. As such there is no separate budget in the magistrates courts allocated to licensing which will be saved due to the changes. Fee levels for the new system are still being negotiated but they should allow the licensing authorities to recover the full costs associated with their administration, inspection and enforcement functions under the Licensing Act 2003.
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Mental Capacity

Paul Holmes: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps he plans to take to ensure that all individuals who manage the finances of those who lack capacity to manage their own finances (a) are bound by the first principles of the Mental Capacity Bill and (b) are subject to the safeguards and the new criminal offences that are in the Mental Capacity Bill. [194736]

Mr. Leslie: The principles in the Mental Capacity Bill will apply to all those who act under the provisions of the Bill on behalf of those who lack capacity. This will include anyone doing an act in connection with care or treatment to which clause 5 applies, attorneys under any Lasting Powers of Attorney, and deputies appointed by the Court of Protection.

It will also include any person appointed a receiver under Part 7 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

The Bill will be accompanied by a Code of Practice, which provides detailed guidance on how to comply with the principles of the Bill. The Public Guardianship Office will produce guidance for attorneys, deputies and receivers advising them of the principles of the Bill and that they must act in the best interest of the person lacking capacity at all times. The Department for Constitutional Affairs and Department of Health will provide guidance for health and social care professionals and all those who care for someone with incapacity.

The principles will not formally apply to attorneys under existing Enduring Powers of Attorney (EPAs). At the time of execution of the EPA the parties have a legitimate expectation that the power will be capable of being used in the future on the same basis as the one on which it was created. In addition, we do not know how many EPAs exist as they do not have to be registered before use, and therefore we have no means of contacting the attorneys to advise them of the Bill's first principles. However those appointed in such a capacity will still have fiduciary and common law duties towards the person lacking capacity. Guidance issued by the Public Guardianship Office advises attorneys that they must act in the best interests of the client at all times. We will be promoting the principles of the Bill as good practice for those involved with people lacking capacity.

Donees of EPAs and receivers are already monitored in similar fashion to the provisions for monitoring of attorneys and deputies in the Mental Capacity Bill. The Bill does, however, provide greater safeguards for registration of powers of attorney. People with capacity may therefore wish to replace their Enduring Power of Attorney with a lasting power of attorney, the benefits of which we will actively publicise.

The new criminal offence proposed in the Mental Capacity Bill is intended to capture those individuals who are in a position of trust, care and power over people who are then ill-treated or neglected. If an attorney under an EPA has the care of a person who lacks or whom he reasonably believes to lack capacity and ill-treats or wilfully neglects that person, he may be guilty of the offence.
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Paul Holmes: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what checks are undertaken by the Court of Protection if there is a complaint made about a receiver misusing the patient's money. [194737]

Mr. Leslie: All receivers are required to account annually to the Court of Protection. Any complaints of misuse on the part of a receiver are investigated by the Public Guardianship Office, which is the administrative arm of the Court. The outcome of the investigation is then referred to the Court for a decision on what action, if any, should be taken against the receiver. The Court has the power to replace a receiver and/or call in the security bond that the receiver deposited when the receivership order was made.

Paul Holmes: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what checks are undertaken by (a) the Court of Protection and (b) the Public Guardianship Office to ensure that an individual's monies are being used in his best interests. [194814]

Mr. Leslie: Receivers appointed by the Court of Protection are required to account annually for monies received and spent.

The Lord Chancellor's Visitors report to the Court and the Public Guardianship Office (PGO) on whether clients' needs are being met and make suggestions on how to improve their quality of life.


General Elections

27. Bob Spink: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what recent advice the Electoral Commission has given regarding the regulation of General Elections. [194594]

Mr. Viggers: As provided for in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, and other relevant legislation, the Electoral Commission regularly provides advice to political parties and others on the rules relating to elections.

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