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Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total value was of US Treasury bonds held by (a) the Bank of England, (b) the UK Government, (c) UK Reserves and (d) UK banks, expressed in (i) US dollars and (ii) pounds sterling (A) in January 2003, (B) in January 2004 and (C) on the latest date for which figures are available. 
Details of the United Kingdom Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity Template are published monthly on the Bank of England's website, meeting the International Monetary Fund's "Special Data Dissemination Standard". This includes a breakdown of reserve assets, however, data to the level of disaggregation asked for is considered to be market sensitive and is therefore not publicly available.
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Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs, (1) what his assessment is of the powers of a judge to prevent a party to family proceedings against whom there is an allegation of (a) domestic violence and (b) sexual abuse from cross-examining the other party about such allegations; 
Mr. Leslie: I believe that the wide discretion afforded to judges in hearing family proceedings gives them sufficient powers to ensure that victims can be protected from intrusive and unfair questioning by the defendant in family proceedings. Judges that are ticketed to hear family cases will have undergone training. They can offer assistance in how questions are framed and how evidence is presented. The judge also has an inherent power to admit evidence at the trial if he considers that it is in the interests of justice to do so.
Under Order 20, rule 8 of the County Court Rules 1981 and Order 38, rule 3 of the Rules of the Supreme Court 1965, the court may, at or before the hearing of any action, order that evidence of any particular fact shall be given at the trial in such manner as may be specified by the order. This would allow the court to use special measures type facilities such as screens and TV links where they are available. A letter to county courts will be sent shortly to remind them of the need to make known to victims any special facilities that are available in the court and a poster will be provided to raise awareness of these Facilities. victims any special facilities that are available in the court and a poster will be provided to raise awareness of these Facilities.
Mr. Pope: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) how many applications for warrants for energy disconnection under the Rights of Entry (Gas and Electricity Boards) Act 1954, as amended, were (a) granted, (b) refused and (c) verified by magistrates courts in England and Wales in (i) 2002, (ii) 2003 and (iii) 2004; 
(2) how many applications for energy disconnection under the Rights of Entry (Gas and Electricity Boards) Act 1954, as amended, were granted by each magistrates court in England and Wales in each of the last three years. 
Completed cases information is provided by magistrates courts to my Department but it is not provided in sufficient detail to identify cases that resulted from specific legislation. To obtain this information from the individual magistrates courthouses could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) does collect pertinent data for England, Wales and Scotland and they are provided in the following table. It should be
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noted that disconnection is a last resort and that in particular, vulnerable customers are offered alternative means of payment.
|Number of customers disconnected on a warrant visit||Number of prepayment meters installed on a warrant visit|
Mr. Pope: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what guidance is given to magistrates on ensuring that each warrant application for energy disconnection made under the Rights of Entry (Gas and Electricity Boards) Act 1954, as amended, receives a rigorous and consistent verification; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Leslie: The responsibility for training magistrates, and the legal advisers who advise them, currently rests with the 42 Magistrates Courts' Committees (MCC)s. Each MCC has its own procedures and advice to applicants, magistrates and legal advisers for dealing with such applications. These may vary between areas, but all will require applications to be made in the courthouse, and either in the presence of a legal adviser, or with a legal adviser in attendance to give advice if required.
The Judicial Studies Board advises nationally on training for magistrates. Although the JSB has given no direct guidance or advice on right of entry or disconnection warrants, it did include applications for these warrants as part of its training material on the Human Rights Act. The exercise dealt with issues of "fair trial" and "proportionality". It is likely that as a result of that MCCs reviewed their procedures to ensure that they complied with the Human Rights Act.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will list his official engagements over the last six months; who was present at each meeting; what the (a) date and (b) location was of each meeting; what issues were discussed; and what plans he has to establish a public register of such information. 
Ministers meet many individuals and organisations and attend many functions relating to Government business, and as part of the process of policy development. To provide the detailed information requested would incur disproportionate cost. The daily on the record briefing by the Prime Minister's official spokesman regularly provides details of Ministers public engagements.
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Vera Baird: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will extend special measures into the family courts in cases in which quasi-criminal allegations of domestic violence and sexual abuse are a part of the case. 
Mr. Leslie: It is the case that the main witness, usually the victim, is already known to the alleged perpetrator in family proceedings cases. Further, cases are not heard or decided by juries but by family judges. Judges that are ticketed to hear family cases will have undergone training to deal with domestic and sexual abuse cases sensitively. It is the attitude and understanding of the judge toward the victim in family proceedings that is as important as any special measures that may be available.
Judges in the family courts already have wide powers when hearing cases where they decide a victim is vulnerable or scared, for instance victims of domestic or sexual abuse, to take action to assist them to give evidence. Hearings are usually heard in private and wigs and gowns are not worn. If the judge decides it is necessary, and they are available, screens and video links can be used. We are also looking to develop integrated domestic violence courts where civil and criminal aspects of domestic violence cases will be heard in one court. This should also make the availability of special measures more readily available across the jurisdictions. A letter to county courts will be sent shortly to remind them of the need to make known to victims any special facilities that are available in the court and a poster will be provided to aid awareness of these facilities.
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs, how much the Department has spent on its Programme on IT and e-Government in each year since 1997; and how the money has been apportioned between different initiatives. (201476)
Mr. Leslie: For my Department, expenditure incurred on IT between 1997 and 2004 covered three main areas; Crown and County Courts, magistrates' courts and Headquarters. These three areas are covered by separate contracts, namely Local Office Court Computer Systemsvarious court-based IT systems (LOCCS), Magistrates' courts IT systems (LIBRA) and Resource Accounting and Management Information System (ARAMIS). The e-Government Unit lists 35 eGovernment initiatives under the Department for Constitutional Affairs in its Electronic Service Delivery Report for January 2004. Most of the significant expenditure on these initiatives is contained in the figures below, but to provide information on the money spent on each of them for each of the last seven years would incur disproportionate cost.
The LOCCS contract was awarded to EDS in September 1996, to provide IT systems to courts. Between 1997 and 2004, expenditure on this contract totalled £137.53 million. The expenditure for each year is as follows.
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ARAMIS is a PFI contract for the provision of accounting, financial, HR/payroll and management information services. Since 1997 to date, expenditure has totalled 121.25m. The expenditure for each year is as follows:
The LIBRA contract provides case management and Office Automation to Magistrates' courts). Total expenditure since 2000 (when payments commenced) to date is £180.8 million. The expenditure for each year is as follows:
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