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Written Ministerial Statements

Tuesday 22 March 2005


House of Lords: Contingencies Fund Advance

Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Paul Boateng): The House of Lords is shortly to purchase new accommodation. In lieu of completion, which is expected to take place shortly, the Treasury agreed a cash advance essential to the purchase from the Contingencies Fund on 16 March in the sum of £50,294,225. This advance was given prior to the Royal Assent to the Appropriation Act on 17 March which gives parliamentary authority for the expenditure.

The advance will be repaid from the spring supplementary estimate.

Financial Services

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Stephen Timms): The Treasury is today publishing "The UK financial services sector: Rising to the challenges and opportunities of globalisation". Copies are available in the Vote Office and the Library of the House. The document is also accessible on the Treasury website at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/.

The paper sets out how the UK financial services sector will be integral to helping the rest of the UK economy and society respond to long-term global economic changes, and presents a series of associated challenges for the sector and for policy-makers.

Parliamentary Questions

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Stephen Timms): The Treasury has conducted a review into the costing of oral and written parliamentary questions. The revised costs, which will apply from 1 April 2005, are:

The disproportionate cost threshold (DCT) relating to answers to written parliamentary questions and the recently introduced cost limit for requests to central Government under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) are set at the same level—£600. The FOIA cost limit is due to be reviewed later this year. In order to maintain consistency between the two limits for the time being, the DCT will remain at £600.
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Budget Resolution 28

The Paymaster General (Dawn Primarolo): It has been drawn to my attention that there was an inadvertent error in Budget resolution 28. This resolution should have read as follows:

The corrected text appears in today's Order Paper.


Legal Services Reform

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs (Mr. David Lammy): My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, has made the following written ministerial statement in the other place yesterday, 21 March 2005.

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Law Commission

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs (Mr. David Lammy): On 12 May 2003 my noble Friend Baroness Scotland of Asthal, the then Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, announced that John Halliday CB had submitted the report of his independent review of the Law Commission on 31 March 2003. She added that the Lord Chancellor had welcomed the thrust of the recommendations and asked the Ministerial Committee on the Law Commission, which is currently chaired by me, to oversee the action taken on the report.

The Ministerial Committee subsequently authorised the setting up of an interdepartmental project board to manage the implementation of the recommendations. This board has now completed its task and been dissolved.

In all, of the 42 recommendations made, 39 have now been dealt with; two are for the future; and one is being taken forward separately.

Major themes of the 39 recommendations included:

Recommendation 30, aimed at identifying special parliamentary procedures to facilitate scrutiny of Law Commission Bills, is being taken forward separately by the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

The vision and guidance and the paper setting out the quinquennial review recommendations and how the Government have responded to them have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and will shortly be available on the website of the Department for Constitutional Affairs at: www.dca.gov.uk
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