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Mike Penning: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what plans she has to bring forward legislation to change the powers of the House of Lords; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Harman: The Government intend to continue with the reform of the House of Lords to create an effective legitimate Chamber while maintaining the primacy of the House of Commons, as set out in its manifesto.
The Government are seeking the co-operation of other parties in setting up a Joint Committee of both Houses to review the conventions of the Lords and developing alternative forms of scrutiny. The Government are committed to seek to legislate to place reasonable limits on the time Bills spend in the second Chamber so they cannot become bogged down in procedural stratagems.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will list lawyers in England and Wales who carry out pro bono immigration and asylum legal aid work. 
Details of all solicitors across England and Wales that provide publicly funded legal services for asylum and immigration matters and meet the Community Legal Services quality standard are available through the Community Legal Service Direct website at www.clsdirect.org.uk. The website also lists all advice agencies and information providers that meet this standard.
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Mike Penning: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs by how much funding for criminal legal aid has changed in the last 10 years; and if she will make a statement. 
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what percentage of solicitors' firms who were offered civil legal aid contracts refused them in each of the last five years, broken down by county; and if she will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: There is no specific allocation of funding for criminal legal aid for the next five years. Funding for the Criminal Defence Service forms part of the total funding available for all legal aid (excluding asylum, which is part of the single asylum fund). The resource budget for legal aid is set for three years at each Spending Review and these stand at £1,825 million, £1,872 million and, £1,920 million for years 200506 to 200708 respectively.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what guidelines her Department has given to electoral registration offices on the timing of the despatch of postal ballots; and whether she plans to change this advice. 
Ms Harman: Guidance to electoral administrators is issued by the Electoral Commission. The Commission issued a comprehensive set of guidance materials at the most recent general election which included advice on the despatch of postal ballot papers.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much in public funds has been spent in funding civil actions arising out of abuse in care homes and residential schools since 1995. 
Child abuse certificates are not identified separately in the Legal Services Commission's computerised records. The Commission can provide figures calculated from its records of specific, identified group actions only, where a number of parties wish to bring very similar actions against a single person. The cost of stand-alone, individual cases cannot be calculated.
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The Community Law Partnership, a legal practice based in Birmingham provides the only publicly funded telephone advice line specifically focused on Travellers. For details of the scope and funding of this service, I refer the hon. Member to the
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answer I gave on 12 September 2005, Official Report, column 2249W to the hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman).
Mike Penning: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what is her policy on using national insurance numbers in relation to voter registration; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Harman: The Government currently has no plans to implement the collection of national insurance numbers in voter registration outside of Northern Ireland. This is in line with recommendations made by the Electoral Commission and in the joint Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee report, "Electoral Registration".
The Electoral Administration Bill, currently before Parliament, provides for the piloting and possible subsequent national rollout of the collection of 'personal identifiers' at the point at which a person registers to vote. These identifiers are specified at clause 14 as a signature, date of birth and such other information relating to an individual as is prescribed. Although this power to prescribe further identifiers is wide enough to provide for the collection of national insurance numbers, the Government does not intend to move forward in this way.