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Keith Hill: The consultation responses to draft Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for Town Centres will be made available in the Library of the House, when the final version of Planning Policy Statement 6 is published.
Brian Cotter: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether his Department has received a response from the Small Business Service to the draft Planning Policy Statement 6 issued in December 2003; and whether a small firms impact assessment has been undertaken in connection with PPS6. 
Keith Hill: The Small Business Service submitted comments on draft Planning Policy Statement 6 on 3 March 2004. A small firms impact test has been carried out and the results will form part of the final Regulatory Impact Assessment which will published once the final version of Planning Policy Statement 6 has been published.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many civil servants from his Office have (a) faced disciplinary proceedings as a result of allegations of theft, (b) been charged with theft and (c) been dismissed following theft allegations in each year since 1997. 
28. Dr. Pugh: To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what effect the introduction of rolling electoral registration has had on voter registration. 
Mr. Leslie: I am not aware that any study has to date been carried out into the effect of rolling registration on voter registration. However, the independent Electoral Commission is currently undertaking research into the extent and nature of non-registration in Great Britain, which I understand includes assessing the impact of rolling registration on levels of voter registration. The Commission expects to publish its findings by summer this year, which the Government will wish to consider carefully.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what research the Department has conducted into the ways in which young people and students register as voters. 
29. Norman Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will make a statement on the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
The Government promised Freedom of Information legislation in our manifesto, and I am delighted that the new Act is now fully operational. It is still early days in the life of these new access rights for the public, but I am confident that there will be a real difference with this statutory "right to know".
11 Jan 2005 : Column 405W
30. Mr. Cousins: To ask the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps are being taken to improve the quality of legal services for immigration cases funded by the Legal Services Commission. 
Mr. Lammy: Both the Secretary of State and the Legal Services Commission want to drive up the quality of publicly funded advice given in asylum and immigration cases. This is in the interest of taxpayers and those who use the service. The Legal Services Commission will require all practitioners providing publicly funded services to have appropriate accreditation from 1 April this year. Accreditation requires the practitioner to show that he or she has the right skills and knowledge to do the job.
Mr. Lammy: When I last visited the offices of the Law Society's Consumer Complaints Service (CCS) on 11 May 2004, I had detailed discussions with the society on how they are improving standards for consumers, including disciplinary and enforcement issues.
33. Bob Spink: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many applications for legal aid have been (a) applied for and (b) granted (i) to resist the imposition of and (ii) to appeal against antisocial behaviour orders. 
Mr. Lammy: The number of applications is not known since practitioners are not required to keep records of refused applications. Neither is the number of granted applications known since the Legal Services Commission's information/systems have until now not recorded information on ASBOs separately. However, antisocial behaviour orders are growing in numbers and the Commission are updating their systems so that from March 2005 this information will be collected.
Ross Cranston: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimate he has made of the amount of interest generated on solicitors' client accounts which are not returned to clients in the last year for which figures are available; and what assessment he has made of the practical problems of introducing a policy of using this interest to fund legal aid. 
Mr. Lammy: My Department has not conducted any specific research into the likely amount of interest generated on solicitors' client accounts which are not returned to clients, but other sources (new Law Journal, December 17 1993) estimated a figure of £60 million per year in 1993. It was recognised, however, that this would be dependent on the rate of interest to be applied, and also the extent to which solicitors must account the interest to clients. I am aware that many other countries use this interest to fund public legal services. No formal assessment has been made of the practical problems of using such interest to fund legal aid in England and Wales.
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