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2 Feb 2007 : Column 579W—continued


Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Newmark: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much his Department spent on buying, operating and supporting (a) all commercial software products and (b) software products produced by Microsoft in each of the last three years. [112595]

Hilary Benn: DFID does not maintain central records of purchase, operating and support costs by software product, so to obtain the information would incur a disproportionate cost.

Constitutional Affairs

Act of Union

Greg Clark: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what celebrations the Government have organised to commemorate the 300(th) anniversary of the Act of Union. [118510]

Bridget Prentice: The anniversary has been marked by a £2 commemorative coin, launched by the Leader of the House and the Secretary of State for Scotland in an event in Whitehall on 16 January. The Government are supporting further commemorative events later in the year: a Treaty of Union debating competition organised by the English Speaking Union; an arts outreach project on the theme “Tales of the United Kingdom” organised by The Prince of Wales Arts and Kids Foundation; and the naming of a mainline train, “Treaty of Union”.

Electoral Register

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what additional funding is provided to local authorities with large numbers of houses in multiple occupation to compile the electoral register. [118015]

Bridget Prentice: Funding is already allocated by the Government to local authorities to perform registration activities and additional funding has been provided to implement new measures introduced under the Electoral Administration Act, of which maintaining and compiling the electoral register is one.

£19.9 million has been transferred to English local authorities in 2006-07 and £1.2 million will be transferred to the National Assembly for Wales in 2006-07. The same sums will be transferred in 2007-08. In addition, up to £12.2 million for the new absent vote personal identifier arrangements will be provided over 2006-07 and 2007-08.


2 Feb 2007 : Column 580W

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much each local authority in Lancashire spent per head of population on compiling the electoral register in each of the last five years. [118016]

Bridget Prentice: While this information is not collected centrally, Section 67 of the EA Act 2006 has allowed the Electoral Commission to set and monitor performance standards for electoral services and to obtain information on expenditure, including the cost of registration functions by EROs. The Commission intends to devise a model for costing electoral registration services by 1 December 2007, which will help to establish the costs of registration activities in each local authority.

Legal Aid

Mr. Baron: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the outcome was of the Court of Appeal case Goodwill versus British Pregnancy Advisory Service (1996); which barrister acted for the claimant; and how much was spent on legal aid fees, including (a) the solicitors’ fees and (b) the barrister’s fee, broken down by (i) brief fee, (ii) daily refresher and (iii) rate. [118267]

Vera Baird: The name of the barrister representing the plaintiff and the outcome of the case are both available in the “Weekly Law Report” [1996] 1 W.L.R. 1397. As to how much was spent on legal aid fees, I refer the hon. Member to my answer to his previous question 8 January 2007, Official Report, column 17W.

MMR Vaccine: Legal Aid

Mr. Baron: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what public interest was served by the legal aid funding of MMR/MR vaccine litigation. [118261]

Vera Baird: The case involved allegations that, as a consequence of a national vaccination campaign, children were very seriously injured because the vaccine in question was defective. With the introduction of the Access to Justice Act 1999 ‘public interest’, as defined in the Funding Code, became an element of the grounds for funding. However, the MMR action began in the 1990s and therefore no formal assessment of ‘public interest’ was made.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the Legal Services Commission plans to recover legal aid fees paid to barristers employed in the MMR/MR vaccine litigation. [118262]

Vera Baird: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has no plans to recover legal aid fees paid to barristers involved in the MMR/MR vaccine litigation. It is for the court to assess the costs to be paid in such cases and is not a decision for the LSC.


2 Feb 2007 : Column 581W

Mr. Baron: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the Legal Services Commission proposes to refer the barristers employed in the MMR/MR vaccine litigation to the Bar Council. [118263]

Vera Baird: The Legal Services Commission has no plans to refer the barristers involved in the MMR/MR litigation to the Bar Council.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs whether the Legal Services Commission plans to recover fees paid for research funded by legal aid in connection with the MMR/MR vaccine litigation. [118264]

Vera Baird: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has no plans to recover legal aid fees paid to researchers involved in the MMR/MR vaccine litigation. It is for the court to assess the costs to be paid in such cases and is not a decision for the LSC.

Trade and Industry

Government Auctions

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry where his Department publishes information about Government auctions which it arranges or to which it contributes in (a) Blackpool, (b) Lancashire and (c) the North West; and when the next such auction will take place in each area. [117426]

Margaret Hodge: Official Receivers use the services of local agents to secure, collect and realise assets. Each local agent would make its own arrangements for publishing these events. Details of the agents used by Official Receivers in the North West can be provided by the Regional Director, Robert Evison, at Boulton House, 17-21 Chorlton Street, Manchester Ml 3HY.

Regional Funding Expenditure

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2007, Official Report, column 1568W, on regional funding expenditure, if he will break down by main budget heading the expenditure of the South East Development Agency in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes during 2005-06. [117684]

Margaret Hodge: The following table provides a breakdown of the South East England Development Agency’s expenditure in the area of Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes during the 2005-06 financial year.

There is a variance of £2,138 between the figure provided in the response to the parliamentary question of 22 January 2007 and the total figure below due to programmes crossing administrative borders.


2 Feb 2007 : Column 582W
Programme name Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes expenditure (£)

Enterprise Gateways

113,493.00

Enterprise Hubs

124,998.00

Incubation Physical Infrastructure

119,266.00

Research and Development Grants

128,191.00

Basic Skills—NHS

30,000.00

RURAL—Skills Programme

7,950.00

Area Programme—Milton Keynes

520,000.00

MKOBB Partnership Support

264,166.00

SRB—MKOBB

219,852.00

RURAL—Market Towns

22,500.00

Wired Region (formerly Broadband Capital)

13,000.00

RURAL—Transport and Services

46,386.00

RURAL—Land based Support

93,976.00

RURAL—Local Produce

15,664.11

SE Economic Partnerships

150,000.00

Total

1,869,442.11


UK Trade and Investment

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in which countries the number of UK Trade and Investment staff will be reduced in 2006-07. [110829]

Mr. McCartney: Staff resources are being increased in the emerging markets in keeping with the commitment in UKTI’s strategy “Prosperity in a Changing World” published in July 2006, and reduced in 2006-07 in Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Senegal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Uganda, USA, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.

As part of the process of resource redeployments, UKTI is introducing new and different ways of working, including hub and spoke arrangements, to provide a more efficient and effective service to customers in the developed markets.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether any UK Trade and Investment posts based in UK overseas missions are planned to be lost. [110856]

Mr. McCartney: There are no plans to reduce the size of UK Trade and Investment’s overseas network as a whole. The commitment to increase resource in the emerging markets as set out in UKTI’s Strategy ‘Prosperity in a Changing World’, published in July 2006, has to be accomplished within UKTI’s existing resource envelope. Some UKTI posts are therefore being lost in the developed markets as resource is redeployed to the following emerging markets: Brazil, mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Dubai, Mexico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Vietnam and Russia.


2 Feb 2007 : Column 583W

Northern Ireland

Bus Services: Comber

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the punctuality record of Translink service number 11 to Comber was in each of the last three years. [117729]

David Cairns: When measured against Translink's customer charter standards for bus punctuality, service number 11 to Comber averaged 61 per cent. in 2006 and 81 per cent. in 2005 during peak traffic periods (figures specific to service number 11 are not available for 2004). Outside peak traffic periods, punctuality was 96 per cent. in 2006 and 97 per cent. in 2005.

Early Release

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether persons convicted of terrorist offences in Northern Ireland since 1998 will be eligible for an early release scheme. [118397]

Paul Goggins: Persons convicted since the signing on 10 April 1998 of the Belfast agreement for scheduled offences committed prior to that date who are given a sentence of imprisonment of five years or more are eligible to apply for early release under the provisions of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998. Persons convicted of such offences committed subsequent to that date are not eligible to apply for early release under that legislation.


2 Feb 2007 : Column 584W

Fisheries

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how long the consultation period was on the Foyle and Carlingford Fisheries (Northern Ireland) Order 2007; in what media outlets notice of the consultation process was carried; and how many responses were received to the consultation. [117994]

David Cairns: The consultation period on the Foyle and Carlingford Fisheries (Northern Ireland) Order 2007 lasted eight weeks, commencing on 17 November 2006 and ending at noon on 15 January 2007. Notice of the consultation was advertised in the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish News and the Newsletter. The consultation documentation was also made available on the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's website. 63 responses were received in response to the consultation.

Neonatal Care

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many neonatal cots in hospitals in the Province there were on 1 January (a) 2002, (b) 1997 and (c) 1992. [112440]

Paul Goggins: The information requested is as follows:

Trust (a) 1 January 2002 (b) 1 January 1997 (c) 1 January 1992

Altnagelvin Group

18

18

18

Craigavon Area Hospital Group

14

14

14

Newry and Mourne

6

6

6

Sperrin Lakeland(1)

6

6

0

Royal Group of Hospitals

31

21

21

Ulster Community and Hospitals

12

12

12

United Hospitals

16

16

10

(1 )Neonatal unit opened in Sperrin Lakeland Trust in 1993.
Note:
It has not been possible to confirm figures for Jubilee Maternity Hospital for 1997
or 1992.
Source:
Health and Social Service Trusts

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