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Keith Vaz: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 28 March 2006, Official Report, column 873W, on consultancy fees, what each of the consultants were used to accomplish; and how much was paid in fees to each organisation. 
Ms Harman: My Department used consultants during 200405 to support its programme of modernisation and change, to increase efficiency, and to provide better customer service and value for money for the taxpayer. Information on what each of the consultants was used to accomplish is not held centrally, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
|Adult Learning Inspectorate||19,309|
|Alexander Cameron Ltd.||5,837|
|Ask Europe PLC||28,616|
|Assessment and Development Consultancy||60,750|
|Communication Engagement and Change Ltd.||61,000|
|Computer Sciences Corporation||16,000|
|Cornwell Management Consultants||49,081|
|Deloitte MCS Ltd.||1,683,229|
|Dennis Battle Associates||2,288|
|Design Systems Technology Ltd.||1,000|
|DTZ Debenhan Tie Leung||244,774|
|Elborough Consulting/TSO Consulting||5,689|
|Ernst and Young LLP||235,256|
|Gartner UK Ltd.||112,103|
|Horwood Safety Limited||1,881|
|Hudson Global Resources||42,600|
|Human Assets Ltd.||85,341|
|Insight Consulting Ltd.||132,924|
|IPPR Consulting Ltd.||29,417|
|Issan Ghazni Partnership||624|
|Logica CMG UK Ltd.||31,012|
|Mouchel Consulting Limited||469,965|
|NCC Services Ltd.||53,449|
|Rick Evans Ltd.||2,677|
|Synopsis Communication Consulting Limited||38,764|
|The Ingram Partnership||243,000|
|Venn Group Ltd.||6,663|
|VP Treen and Associates||43,200|
Ms Harman: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has powers to investigate where doubts arise about whether a funded client is financially eligible for civil legal aid. The LSC takes action to deal with people who abuse the system, including referring them to the police where appropriate.
In order to improve the verification of means of applicants for civil legal aid, the LSC set up the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in 1996. This unit considers cases of apparently wealthy individuals applying for civil legal aid. Following the successful introduction of the SIU for civil legal aid, its role was extended to cover Criminal Legal Aid from 1998.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1)what the average business rates liability of a small firm in England was (a) before and (b) after claiming small business rate relief in 200506; 
Mr. Woolas: Ministers visited the eight English 'Core Cities', in a series of city summits during autumn of last year. Following these summits, the 'Core Cities', in partnership with surrounding areas, have been developing business cases which set out their strategic vision, and their case for change to enable improved economic performance and social cohesion. Representatives from the West Midlands metropolitan authorities and their partners met with the Minister of Communities and Local Government (Mr. Miliband) on 23 March to discuss their business case.
Mr. Woolas: Between 1 January and 25 April 2006 the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister received approximately 3,260 written representations about council tax. The Office has also received just over 3,000 copies of council tax bills without a separate written representation.
Mr. Woolas: Council tax benefit is available to pensioners on a low income. When pension credit was introduced in October 2003, the Government invested almost £½ billion a year in increasing the amounts on which housing benefit and council tax benefit are based: this meant that around 2 million pensioner households became either entitled to council tax benefit for the first time or qualified for more help. The Government has also announced an extension of winter fuel payments for the remainder of this Parliament at a cost of around £700 million a year.
David Simpson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many people in his Department have been (a) disciplined and (b) dismissed for (i) inappropriate use of the internet while at work and (ii) using work telephones to access premium rate numbers in each of the last five years. 
Yvette Cooper: The Government publish planning policy in various forms such as through circulars, planning policy statements and policy guidance notes. These documents build on the framework set out in legislation, and provide guidance on different aspects of land use planning and the delivery of sustainable development through the planning system.
Government planning guidance does not require the formal backing of legislation, but it is considered material considerations and must be taken into account when an authority is making a decision on a planning application.
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