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Jane Kennedy [holding answer 27 February 2006]: Erlotinib (Tarceva) for non-small cell lung cancer was granted a licence by the European Medicines Agency, in September 2005. The Department does not hold data on the number of people prescribed particular drugs but does hold data on the number of national health service prescriptions dispensed. There is no record of the drug having been issued in hospitals up to June 2005, though our information is not comprehensive and might not capture the use of the drug in clinical trials where it has not been dispensed at the NHS's expense. More recent data is not available due to the contractual restrictions on how data on drugs issued in hospitals can be used. The drug has not been prescribed in primary care up to September 2005. More recent data is currently not available due to National Statistics protocols.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what her assessment is of (a) the requirement for and (b) the performance of the magistrates court in Coleford, Gloucestershire. 
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what savings have been sought by her Department from the Courts Service in
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Gloucestershire; and what assessment she has made of the impact of these savings on court services in Gloucestershire. 
Bridget Prentice: Gloucestershire have identified £109,000 of savings and to date have reported that they have achieved these savings as a result of management reorganisation which does not impact on court business.
Bridget Prentice: I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 16 January 2006, Official Report, column 1054W. The Government's internal review is desk based, examining a range of existing publications and materials. These include, for example, the reports of the Independent Commission on the Voting Systems (the Jenkins report"), the Independent Commission on Proportional Representation (ICPR), and the Arbuthnott Commission's report on Boundary Differences and Voting Systems.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether (a) Ministers and (b) special advisers are informed of Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests made to their Department. 
Where section 36 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies, all requests are submitted to Ministers because this exemption can only be used if, in the Minister's reasonable opinion, disclosure would 'prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs'.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the target time for the Information Commissioner's Office to process a case from receipt to completion; and what the average time taken was in 2005. 
Bridget Prentice: The Information Commissioner is an independent body created by statute. He has responsibilities for handling complaints made to him under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1998.
For FOI cases, the ICO target for the business year 200506 is to resolve 50 per cent. within 60 working days. In the calendar year 2005, 50.3 per cent. of cases closed were closed within 60 working days of receipt. The average time taken from receipt to closure for all FOI cases closed during 2005 was 94 working days.
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For DP cases, the ICO target for the business year 200506 is to resolve 90 per cent. of cases within 90 calendar days. In 2005, 88.5 per cent. of cases closed were closed within 90 calendar days of receipt. The average time taken from receipt to closure for all Data Protection cases in the same period was 50 calendar days.
Mr. Peter Robinson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many applications for legal aid were (a) made and (b) approved in Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 years, broken down by constituency. 
|Legal advice and assistance||By way of representation||Children order||Civil legal aid||Criminal legal aid|
Dr. Cable: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what assessment she has made of the Legal Services Commission decision to cease funding specialist support and legal advice in complex cases; and if she will make a statement. 
Bridget Prentice: Specialist support services form part of the Legal Services Commission's (LSC) special projects budget. Research undertaken by the LSC which underpins their consultation paper Making legal rights a reality" points to an increasing demand for front line advice for the most needy.
Given the pressure on the limited legal aid budget and the number of clients needing legal advice, the LSC has concluded that the £2.3 million will be redirected to fund direct legal advice in the next financial year. This will increase access to legal aid services for vulnerable people.
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