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Mr. Baron: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (1) how much in legal aid money has been spent on the third generation combined oral contraceptive pill litigation; how much has been paid to each (a) barrister and (b) firm of solicitors in connection with the case; what hourly rate was paid in each case; and whether these payments represent risk rates paid so that service providers would be unlikely to profit in the eventuality of the case being unsuccessful; 
This case concerned a multi party action (MPA) against the manufacturers of Femodene and
other third generation oral contraceptive pills, for allegedly causing personal injury, including cardiovascular injuries to those who consumed them. Approximately 120 women were funded to bring proceedings against the manufacturers. This culminated in a 13-week trial during 2002. The total cost to the legal aid fund was £9.9 million. The case did not succeed, but had it done so, then as with all civil cases against privately funded parties, significant damages would likely to have been awarded and the legal costs subsequently met by the opposing parties. The net cost to the legal aid fund would then have been very little, or even nothing.
Legal aid was reformed in 2000 to exclude personal injury cases from receiving funding. However in some exceptional cases an independent panel of experts advises the Legal Services Commission (LSC) to grant funding, especially where the panel believes the case has significant wider public interest, as they did with this litigation. Given the wide availability of Femodene and other third generation oral contraceptive pills, the panel decided that it was important for the public to know they could have confidence in the product licensing system and therefore advised the LSC to fund the litigation.
The solicitor firms involved were Houghton and Co and Leigh Day and Co. Houghton and Co were paid £7,365,969 and £948,361 in disbursements. A single costs assessment certificate was issued by the court to Houghton and Co as the lead solicitor firm under the MPA contract. I understand that of this total, £1.8 million was paid to Leigh Day and Co.
Preparation£74.00 to £79.50 per hour
Routine letters out £7.40 to £7.50 per item
Routine telephone calls£4.10 to £4.15 per item
Attending hearing or conference with counsel£36.40 to £37.00 per hour
Attending hearing without counsel£32.70 to £33.25 per hour.
Additionally, enhancements ranging between 75 per cent. to 200 per cent. were assessed as reasonable by the court for items of work carried out under these rates depending on the complexity of the specific work carried out.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the Boundary Commission takes account of the number of European nationals eligible to vote in local elections but not in general elections when considering English parliamentary boundary changes. 
Bridget Prentice: European nationals not eligible to vote in general elections are not taken account of by the Boundary Commission in their reviews of parliamentary constituency boundaries. This is because the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 currently requires the Boundary Commission to work only with the
the number of persons whose names appear on the register of parliamentary electors.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs which individuals have been designated as other members of the Royal family under section 37 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
Vera Baird: My Department's guidance on section 37 (which is published at http://www.foi.gov.uk/guidance/exguide/sec37/annex_a.htm) contains a list of members of the royal family since 1 January 1975 (as at June 2004) comprising those entitled to use the title Majesty or Royal Highness and their spouses (since 1 January 1975). The list will change over time, especially through marriage or birth. This guidance was published in June 2004 and when it is next updated it will include newer members of the royal family such as the Duchess of Cornwall.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment her Department has made of the likely effect of digital switchover on the economy; what assessment she has made of the consequences for the economy of changes to the planned timetable; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Caborn: The economic impact of digital switchover on the UK economy is set out in cost benefit analyses produced by DCMS and Department of Trade and Industry economists. The most recent estimates were published in a report by DCMS and DTI in February 2005. I am arranging for copies of the report to be placed in the Library of both Houses. The report is also available from www.digitaltelevision .gov.uk
The February 2005 estimates indicated that a two-year delay in the completion of digital switchover
would lead to a reduction of benefits of around £400 million in net present value terms, based on conservative assumptions about the future use of spectrum released by switchover.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 16 October 2006, Official Report, column 978W, on the Gambling Act, (1) when the three-year period of assessment of the new casinos introduced under the Gambling Act 2005 will begin; and if she will make a statement; 
Mr. Caborn: A scoping study is currently under way, which will establish the methodology for the assessment of the social and economic impact of the new casinos permitted by the Gambling Act 2005. It is due to report in December 2006.
We will undertake baseline studies in 2007 in the relevant areas, once Parliament has approved the areas where the one regional, eight large and eight small casinos will be located. We will then undertake an assessment of the social and economic impact of the new casinos no earlier than three years after the award of the first premises licence.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will commission regular studies into the extent of problem gambling in the period (a) running up to and (b) following implementation of the Gambling Act 2005, with particular reference to online gambling. 
Mr. Caborn: The Gambling Commission is currently conducting a gambling prevalence study, which will report in September 2007 and provide a baseline for future studies to be conducted at three-yearly intervals.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what support (a) her Department and (b) the gambling industry provides to gambling support organisations; and whether such support is expected to increase after the implementation of the Gambling Act 2005. 
Mr. Caborn: The Gambling Act places a duty on gambling operators to behave in a socially responsible manner. Licensed operators will be expected to contribute to work on research, education and treatment of problem gambling through their policies, practices and support for other bodies, such as treatment providers.
The industry has established the Responsibility in Gambling Trust to fund this and we have set a target of £3 million each year, once the Act is fully implemented. If more is needed, and not delivered by the industry, the Act has powers to impose a statutory levy. We will use those powers, if necessary.
Mr. Caborn: Sustainable development was integral to our bid for the 2012 Olympic games and Paralympic games and is integral to their delivery. The principles we are following are to seek to reduce carbon emissions wherever possible, through demand reduction measures; reducing the carbon intensity of the energy through the use of combined cooling heat and power; energy efficiency measures; and through providing new renewable energy infrastructure. In addition, we will to seek to offset unavoidable emissions associated with the games through a carbon offsetting programme.
Detailed planning work is under way to ensure that the facilities being built for the games take account of the need to minimise demand for energy in their construction and operation and that a proportion of the post-games energy demand is provided from on-site renewable sources, including wind, ground and solar energy. During the games themselves in addition to locally generated and off-site renewable energy use and plans for using public transport for spectators, we have committed to offset the carbon emissions from all officials and athletes travelling to the games and are looking to work with international partners to do so.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assurances have been given to the International Olympic Committee concerning post-2012 use of the main Olympic stadium. 
Tessa Jowell [holding answer 30 October 2006]: The London 2012 Candidate File, which was submitted to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in November 2004, set out that the Olympic stadium would be converted to a 25,000 seat multi-purpose venue with athletics at its core (volume 1, theme 1 concept and legacy). This was confirmed to the IOC Evaluation Commission when it visited London in February 2005 and during London 2012s presentation to the IOC in Singapore in July 2005 and remains the position.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions the Olympic Board has had on the post-2012 use of the main Olympic stadium; and what conclusions it has reached on the post-games seating capacity. 
Tessa Jowell [holding answer 30 October 2006]: The Olympic Board discussed options for the Olympic stadium at its meeting on 28 June 2006 and received an update from the Olympic Delivery Authority on the stadium design and build procurement process at its meeting on 25 July 2006. Summaries of Olympic Board meetings can be found on the London 2012 website at:
Mr. Caborn: The Playing Fields Monitoring Group met 12 times from April 2000 on the following occasions: 10 July 2000; 6 October 2000; 12 January 2001; 14 June 2001; 26 September 2001; 17 December 2001; 15 January 2002; 11 April 2002; 6 November 2002; 29 January 2003; 21 May 2003; and 27 May 2004. This particular group no longer meets, but my Department continues to liaise closely with the organisations that were represented on the group.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate her Department has made of the change in the number of playing fields of an area of less than 0.4 hectares in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Caborn: Specific data on changes in numbers of sites of less than 0.4 hectares has not been centrally collected. However, since 2001-02, my Department has released information on the numbers of planning applications approved each year affecting sites which either were too small or of the wrong shape to accommodate a playing pitch as currently defined, as set out as follows. These figures will include applications affecting areas of less than 0.4 hectares:
|Number||Representing percentage of the total approved applications|
The Department for Communities and Local Government has committed to consulting on reducing from 0.4 hectares to 0.2 hectares the threshold at which Sport England must be consulted when a planning application for development is submitted. DCLGs consultation is intended to take place next year.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 4 September 2006, Official Report, column 1688W, to the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh), on British troops (Afghanistan), if he will describe the welfare facilities for armed service personnel serving in (a) Kabul, (b) Camp Bastion, (c) forward bases in Helmand province and (d) other operational theatres. 
Expeditionary Forces Institute retail and leisure facilities.
Access to the internet and 30 minutes of publicly funded telephone calls per week.
A free Forces Aerogramme and Forces Postcard service and a subsidised postal packet scheme that allows parcels up to 2kg to be sent at the UK inland rate.
An electronic Aerogramme service.
Televisions and British Forces Broadcasting Service transmissions.
DVD players and DVDs.
Video gaming machines and games.
Radios and British Forces Broadcasting Service transmissions.
Combined Services Entertainment personality visits.
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