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28 Nov 2007 : Column 465Wcontinued
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform which (a) lawyers and (b) legal firms have been given work by HM Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office since 1 January 2005; and what the cost was of such contracts, broken down by (i) lawyer and (ii) firm. 
The Solicitor-General: I have been asked to reply.
The Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office employed 1,738 counsel from the Attorney-General's approved list between 1 January 2005 and 30 September 2007 at a total cost of £32.0 million.
In the same period the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office also employed the services of 23 legal firms at a total cost of £446,000.
A schedule of total payments to each individual and firm has been placed in the Library.
Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the net savings to Post Office Ltd of the closure of (a) the St. Leonards Green Post Office, (b) the White Rock Post Office in St. Leonards, (c) the Hastings Old Town Post Office and (d) the Tilling Green Post Office in Rye. 
Mr. McFadden: The development of proposals for specific post office closures is a matter for Post Office Ltd. with input from Postwatch, local authorities and subpostmasters. The consultation period for the Sussex area plan covering Hastings and Rye constituency closes on 24 December. Final decisions on which post offices will close will be taken by Post Office Ltd. in light of the responses received to the area consultations.
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the remaining post offices can accommodate greater numbers of customers as part of the Post Office closure programme. 
Mr. McFadden: This is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. (POL). I have therefore asked Alan Cook, Managing Director of POL, to reply direct to the hon. Member.
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps the Government are taking to ensure the Post Office takes into account local factors such as public transport access before closing a post office. 
Mr. McFadden: In formulating its area plans, Post Office Ltd. is required to consider the availability of public transport and alternative access to key post office services, local demographics and the impact on the local economy.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to his oral answer of 22 November 2007, Official Report, column 1328, on postal services, what precedents there are for consultations to be suspended in advance of local elections. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 27 November 2007]: Cabinet Office guidelines clearly state that consultations, and decisions relating to them, should not be launched in an election period. Successive Administrations of both parties have observed these arrangements for many years.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether trades union members who opt out of the unions political fund are charged the cost of the political fund contribution when they pay their union subscription. 
Mr. McFadden: Where trade union members opt out of contributing to their unions political fund, the union must ensure they do not make payments into the political fund via a separate political levy or via other subscription payments to the union. It is also unlawful for a union to penalise individuals who opt out by excluding them from any benefit, or by directly or indirectly placing them at a disability or disadvantage (except in relation to the control or management of the political fund).
Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) genetically modified animals and (b) animals with a harmful genetic defect were used in regulated procedures conducted in Scotland under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in 2006. 
Meg Hillier: Comprehensive statistics of scientific procedures on living animals in Great Britain carried out under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 are published annually. Copies of the publication for 2006 (Cm 7153) can be found in the House Library.
The data are not collected, stored or presented in a way enabling them to be easily broken down between England, Wales and Scotland as the 1986 Act is administered by the Home Office for the whole of Great Britain (it is administered separately in Northern Ireland). However, a special exercise has been undertaken to extract the information requested in relation to Scotland.
During 2006 there were 127,253 genetically modified animals and 11,643 animals with a harmful genetic defect used in regulated procedures conducted in Scotland under the 1986 Act.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if she will publish the records of discussions within her Department which took place on the grant of a project licence to Professor Tipu Aziz permitting him to conduct scientific procedures on the primate Felix; 
(2) whether the Animal Procedures Committee in granting a licence for experiments on Felix the primate took into account the extent to which those experiments had been (a) documented in scientific literature and (b) previously conducted on (i) non human primates and (ii) human patients. 
Meg Hillier: I have no plans to disclose the records of discussions relating to applications for project licences under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Any such records may include information provided in confidence the disclosure of which, other than in the discharge of functions under the Act, is prohibited by section 24 of the same Act.
Under section 20(2) of the 1986 Act, when considering any matter, the Animal Procedures Committee must have regard to the legitimate requirements of science and industry and to the protection of animals against avoidable suffering and unnecessary use in scientific procedures. I am confident that the Committee's advice on individual project licence applications takes full account of all relevant factors in line with this requirement.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average (a) length of service and (b) retirement age was for police constables in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. McNulty: The information requested is as follows:
(a) The information requested cannot be calculated from the centrally collected data within the police personnel statistics series.
(b) Retirement age cannot be separately identified from the available data. The available data are the age on leaving the service within the following time bands only: 25 and under, 26 to 40, 41 to 55 and over 55.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the average occupancy rate was of police custody suites in (a) Wales, (b) Dyfed-Powys police area and (c) Pembrokeshire in (i) 2006 and (ii) since 1 January 2007; 
(2) what the capacity is of police custody units in (a) Wales, (b) Dyfed-Powys police area and (c) Pembrokeshire. 
Mr. McNulty: The provision and operation of, and collation of information in respect of, police custody accommodation are matters for chief constables and police authorities.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the average proportion of a police officer's day spent on patrol in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. McNulty: Data on time spent on patrol only offers a partial indication of policing activity. Information on time spent on front-line duties by police officers has only been collected since 2003-04. Year by year information is set out in the following table.
|Time spent on patrol 2004 to 2007|
|Percentage time spent on front-line duties|
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers are employed in West Chelmsford constituency; and what proportion of their time is spent on street patrols. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 26 November 2007]: Figures collected by the Home Office show numbers of officers deployed to each Basic Command Unit (BCU) in Essex. The closest BCU to the West Chelmsford constituency is Essex Central. The figures show that on 31 March 2007, the latest published period, there were 506 officers in Essex Central BCU. This figure excludes police community support officers and police staff, and also excludes officers and staff in Central Services, which covers the police HQ in Chelmsford.
The Home Office estimates time spent on patrol, but these figures are not collected or estimated below police force area level.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of police officers were off work for longer than a week as a result of injuries sustained while on duty in each police force in England in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Mr. McNulty: The available data are for long-term absences due to an assault which occurred within the realms of duty. Long-term absences are those which have lasted for more than 28 calendar days, and assaults include those incidents where there was no injury to the officer. The data are collected as at a particular date rather than throughout the course of the year, therefore the data provided are for the number of officers on sick absence as at 31 March 2007.
|Number (FTE)( 1) and percentage( 2) of police officers in England on long-term certified sickness absence due to an assault( 3) as at 31 March 2007|
|Police force||Number of police officers on certified sickness due to assault||Percentage of police officers on certified sickness due to assault|
|(1) Full-time equivalent figures.|
(2) Officers absent as a percentage of the total police officer strength.
(3) Certified long-term sickness (over 28 calendar days) due to an assault occurring within the realms of duty. Assaults include those incidents where no injury was caused.
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