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Vera Baird: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) what re-training is given to judges ticketed to try rape; and after what intervals from the date of their ticketing such training is given; 
No judge may hear a case involving rape or a serious sexual offence in the first instance without first having
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received appropriate JSB training, and the designated course for this is the Serious Sexual Offences Seminar (SSOS). Those authorised will be called to continuation training every three years from the date of their first attendance. SSOS is currently designed to cater for both those newly authorised and those receiving continuation training on the basis that a strong element of the training is in the sharing of experiences in general discussions, and in particular during the syndicate work for sentencing and practical problems. However, the question as to whether there should be separate seminars for those attending for the first time, and those receiving continuation training, is kept under review.
(4) Sentencing issues and the assessment and treatment of sexual offenders in the community and in prison. Also included in the programme is a series of discussions, in small groups, of trial and sentencing issues.
In addition, judges of every rank, including the High Court and the Court of Appeal, who exercise the criminal jurisdiction, also received some training on the provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as part of a programme of training on the Criminal Justice Reforms that ran between January and March 2005. This was supplemented with written material provided at the time the Act came into force.
Newly appointed High Court Judges attend a Serious Sexual Offences Seminar at the earliest opportunity if they have not recently done so in a previous capacity. Further continuation training for High Court Judges is arranged at their request.
Vera Baird: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what monitoring is carried out of the frequency with which individual judges allow applications to admit previous sexual history in rape trials. 
Vera Baird: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what proportion of rape trials were cracked at court with the defendant tendering a plea of guilty to a lesser offence during (a) 2003 and (b) 2004. 
In 2003 one (0.4 per cent.) case out of 286 cracked at court because the defendant tendered a guilty plea to a lesser offence. In 2004, it was two (0.8 per cent.) out of 254.
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Mr. Woolas: The Local Government Finance Act 1988 limits the increase in the non-domestic multiplier in line with the retail prices index and takes into account losses from appeals over the life of the rating lists. This ensures that no additional revenue is collected purely as a result of revaluation.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effects on (a) the council tax base and (b) council tax receipts of reducing council tax discounts on (i) empty homes and (ii) second homes in England. 
Mr. Woolas: According to budget returns from local authorities, reductions in council tax discounts in England for long-term empty and second homes for 200405 led to increases in the council tax base of 42,600 and 62,700 Band D equivalent properties respectively.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average Band D council tax in (a) county councils, (b) metropolitan councils, (c) unitary councils and (d) London boroughs was in each year from 199798 to 200506. 
Mr. Woolas: The Government are committed to a transitional relief scheme. They will consult on their proposals for the scheme at the same time as they consult on proposals for revaluing and reforming council tax in the light of the Lyons Inquiry.
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proportion of local government revenue expenditure in England was financed by council tax in each year since 199697; and what the estimated proportion for 200506 is. 
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