|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
24 Apr 2007 : Column 1004Wcontinued
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent on Holocaust Memorial Day in each year since its institution; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: The UK Holocaust Memorial Day was first held in January 2001 and has since been held on 27 January every year. Up to 2005, the responsibility for delivering Holocaust Memorial Day lay with the Home Office, working in conjunction with the Department for Education and Skills and a wide range of individuals and organisations involved in Holocaust remembrance and education and other related issues. The approximate spending for 2002-04 was £280,000
In 2005 the responsibility for organising the Holocaust Memorial Day was passed over to the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT). The HMDT receives a £500,000 annual grant from Communities and Local Government. This grant enables the HMDT to deliver the Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration event, on behalf of the Government, and also a year long programme with local communities on the lessons learnt from the Holocaust and its continuing relevance today.
Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many complaints the local government ombudsman with responsibility for the North of England received in each of the last five years against local authorities, broken down by local authority; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas: This information has been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what provisions exist for (a) magistrates, (b) judges and (c) members of tribunals to declare freemasonry membership on appointment. 
Ms Harman: Applicants for the lay magistracy are required to declare whether or not they are freemasons. Those recommended for appointment, or appointed by, the Lord Chancellor to a judicial office in the courts and tribunals for the first time are also required to declare whether or not they are freemasons.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will bring forward measures to extend the protections of the Human Rights Act 1998 to residents of care homes who are (a) publicly and (b) privately or self-funded. 
Vera Baird: Under the Human Rights Act 1998 it is unlawful for a public authority to act incompatibly with the Convention rights. For these purposes a public authority includes any person or body who is exercising functions of a public nature. Local authorities have a statutory duty to make arrangements for the provision of care and accommodation to those in need of it by reason of age, illness or disability. Individuals who are assessed to be in need of care may be placed in a care home run by the local authority itself, but many are placed in homes run by private providers. Those who are placed in care homes by local authorities (including homes that are privately run) can enforce their rights against the local authority because the authority is clearly a public authority for the purposes of the Human Rights Act.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs is planning to intervene in a case which will be heard by the House of Lords on 30 April 2007 to clarify whether a private care home provider is also a public authority for the purposes of the Human Rights Act when it provides accommodation and care to residents who have been placed there by a local authority. If that is found to be the case, then residents who are placed by local authorities in private care homes will be able directly to enforce their rights against a private care home provider.
The Government have no plans to extend the coverage of the Human Rights Act to self-funded residents of care homes, since the Act does not apply to relationships which do not engage public functions.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will take steps (a) to ensure that agreements entered into between solicitors and their clients in equal pay cases do not undermine the securing of a mediated settlement and (b) to stop solicitors imposing a financial penalty on their clients in non-contentious cases. 
Bridget Prentice: The regulation of agreements between solicitors and their clients is a matter for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The SRA has strict rules about the information that solicitors should give to their clients about costs and all other charges; and about setting out the options for settling their disputes. Solicitors are also under a duty to act in the best interests of their clients.
Concerns about the conduct of solicitors in equal pay cases, or any other type of case, should be brought to the SRAs attention.
Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what public rights of access there are to written material used in the proceedings of coroners inquests; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Harman: All inquests are held in public unless the coroner considers that it would be in the interest of national security to exclude the public. The press often attend inquests and report details but there is no public right of access to written material used in inquests.
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what discussions her Department has had with the Law Society on the funding of legal studies students. 
Bridget Prentice: While there have been no specific discussions between the Law Society and my Department on this topic, I am aware that there are a number of different methods of funding for legal studies students.
These include bursaries from the Law Society, bank loans or career development loans and sponsorship from solicitors firms.
Mr. Pelling: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of solicitors firms which were unable to complete the new unified contract for legal aid as of 1 April 2007. 
Vera Baird: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) extended the deadline for signature to 2 April 2007. As of 3 April, approximately 2,390 of 2,532 unified contracts had been signed and returned to the LSC by civil providers. This represents 97 per cent. of not- for-profit organisations and 94 per cent. of solicitors. Overall, 5 per cent. of providers did not sign. There are also likely to be many more sub-contractors who are not required to sign the unified contract, but who provide legal aid services.
That a small proportion of providers declined to sign is not unusual, as it is normal for there to be some degree of turnover when new contracts are introduced. The LSC will shortly be providing details of a new civil bid round as part of the Community Legal Service Strategy for improving access to joined up services.
Philip Davies: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of solicitors who will cease taking on legal aid work in each of the next three years. 
Vera Baird: A consultation recently closed for criminal legal aid, which included consideration of whether a minimum contract size should be introduced. No decision has yet been taken, but should a minimum contract size be implemented, it will have the effect of reducing the number of firms undertaking criminal legal aid work.
During the most recent contracting round, at the beginning of April 2007, 94 per cent. of solicitors providing civil legal aid services signed and returned their contracts indicating their wish to continue taking on legal aid work.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many county court judgments were made against recipients of tax credits in respect of their claims for credits in each of the last 24 months. 
Ms Harman: Information on the number of county court judgments made against recipients of tax credits in respect of their claims for credits in each of the last 24 months is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport by what methods those eligible for the targeted assistance scheme for the digital switchover have been identified in (a) the UK and (b) Cheadle constituency. 
Mr. Woodward: Targeted assistance will be available to all households with one person aged 75 or over or with a severe disability or registered partially-blind or registered partially-sighted. The Digital Switchover (Disclosure of Information) Bill is currently going through Parliament. If this becomes law, the operator of the Digital Switchover Help Scheme will use Department for Work and Pensions and local authority databases to identify those eligible.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her Departments policy is on a voluntary ban on advertising unhealthy foods near schools. 
Mr. Woodward: At present there are no rules governing the advertisement of food and soft drink products near schools. However, the Government would always encourage individual companies to show responsibility in choosing where to place adverts.
The industry self regulated non-broadcast advertising rules, relating to the advertising of food and soft drink products to children, were recently strengthened by the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) we welcome this commitment by the industry to protect the health of our children. The Government are also committed to monitoring the impact of these and other measures, across all media, in changing the nature and balance of food promotion to children.
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what process has been put in place to enable Ministers to (a) exercise political oversight and (b) monitor the progress of the implementation plan for the Gambling Act 2005; 
(2) on what dates since the start of 2007 she has received reports on the progress of the implementation plan for the Gambling Act 2005. 
Tessa Jowell: My Department has put in place a robust programme management and reporting structure to support implementation of the Gambling Act 2005.
In addition to formal progress reports, the most recent of which was provided in March 2007, Ministers hold regular meetings with officials on key implementation matters.
Ministers also hold quarterly meetings with the Chair and Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission as well as frequent meetings with representatives of industry, local government, and other key stakeholders. Officials also chair a number of stakeholder groups including quarterly meetings of the Community Liaison Group and Industry Liaison Group, as well as a monthly communications group to address application rates and other issues arising during the transitional period.
It remains the Governments intention to bring the Gambling Act fully into force by 1 September 2007.
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assumptions her Department has made on the number of applications for operator licences under the Gambling Act 2005 that will be made by the end of April 2007 deadline by existing operators in order to secure continuation rights; and how many such applications the Gambling Commission has received, broken down by category of licence. 
Tessa Jowell: The Gambling Commissions estimated number of existing operators who, in order to secure continuation rights, are encouraged to apply for an operating licence to the Gambling Commission by 27 April is approximately 2,400. At 20 April 885 operating licence applications had been made, which equates to about 37 per cent. of that estimate. However, the number of operators does not necessarily equate to the number of applications that will be received.
All operators are entitled to make applications after 27 April and the Gambling Commission will process them in time for 1 September.
The breakdown of non-remote operating licence applications received to 20 April by sector is:
|Non remote operator category||Applications received by 20 April 2007|
The breakdown of remote operating licence applications received to 20 April by sector is:
|Remote operator category||Applications received by 20 April 2007|
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|