Mr. Baron: To ask the Leader of the House what subjects for topical debates have been proposed to her in each week of the current session; how many proposals she received for each subject; and what criteria she used to choose the subjects upon which topical debates have been held. 
On 25 October 2007 the House agreed with the recommendations in the Government Response to the First Report of the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons on Revitalising the Chamber: the role of the back bench Member (CM7231). The recommendation set out stated:
The selection of debatenot least to ensure that the subject is genuinely regional, national or international which could not be guaranteed under a ballot systemwould be announced by the Leader of the House following discussions in the usual channels and following the representations from opposition parties and backbenchers.
The subject should be topical; the House has not had an opportunity to debate it; it is a matter of public policy; it is a matter of public concern, and it is of international, national or regional importance.
Helen Goodman: In accordance with the resolution of the House of 28 March, the Communications Allowance is increased on 1 April each year by the percentage increase in the retail price index as at 31 December the preceding year.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Leader of the House how many staff work in her Offices parliamentary branch; and what proportion of their time is spent on dealing with (a) Parliamentary Questions and (b) correspondence from hon. Members and Peers. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Leader of the House what steps the Government has (a) taken and (b) facilitated to improve the means available to (i) hon. Members and (ii) this House to hold the Government to account and influence the development of policy. 
Ms Harman: The Government have taken a number of steps to promote the ability of Members and of the House to hold the Government to account and to influence the development of policy, though these are not all recorded centrally (some for example will have been the responsibility of individual departments) and it is not possible to break them down in the way proposed.
increased the number of bills published in draft for pre-legislative scrutiny
publication of a draft legislative programme
publication of Explanatory Notes with bills, and other developments in supporting material published with bills
improved impact assessment and consultation processes
establishment of the UK National Parliament Office in Brussels
establishment of oral and written evidence-taking powers for public bill committees
introduction of Westminster Hall as a parallel debating chamber
increased resources for select committees
increased staffing and other resources for individual Members
regular appearances of the Prime Minister before the Liaison Committee
reduced notice for oral questions and the introduction of topical oral questions
introduction of a weekly topical debate
introduction of a system of written questions in September
greater certainty for Members in parliamentary business and the annual parliamentary calendar
updated Ministerial Code and new Code of Conduct for Special Advisers.
I refer the hon. Member also to the statement by the Prime Minister of 3 July and the Governance of Britain Green Paper (Cm 7170) published that day, which contains a range of further measures and proposals designed to promote the role and powers of the House.
Justine Greening: To ask the Leader of the House what departmental (a) reviews and (b) inquiries have been announced in Ministerial oral statements since 27 June; and if she will make a statement. 
|Number of MPs and Peers letters received||Percentage of MPs and Peers correspondence answered within target||Percentage of Peers correspondence answered within target|
|(1) Up to 1 November|
John Mann: To ask the Leader of the House how many hon. Members own the property in which the office facilities for which they claim office accommodation costs are situated; and how many hon. Members have such office facilities situated in property owned by the political party of which they are a member. 
Helen Goodman: The Green Book (Parliamentary Salaries, Allowances and Pensions) does not allow Members to lease office accommodation from themselves. However, Members may use part of their home as an office for their Parliamentary duties, or any other building which they lease or own. They may claim for any additional costs incurred, but not leasing or mortgage costs. Figures are not readily available for the number of Members who do so.
Mrs. May: To ask the Leader of the House what the terms of reference are for the Deputy Leader of the House's review of the system of scrutiny for European matters; when she expects recommendations arising from that review to be made; and what the timetable is for publication of those recommendations. 
Helen Goodman: On behalf of the Leader of the House, I am considering issues relating to the operation and reform of the system for scrutiny of European Union documents in this House. This follows from the recommendations made in the report from the Modernisation Select Committee in its Second Report of Session 2004-05 (HC 465) and from the debate on 25 October relating to the composition of European Standing Committees. I hope to bring forward proposals before the current temporary resolution governing the composition of European Standing Committees, agreed following that debate, expires in February 2008.
Helen Goodman: Departmental and other select committees in the Commons may already conduct post-legislative scrutiny exercises on any Acts falling within their area of activity, either as a separate inquiry or as part of other inquiries. Many committee inquiries contain elements of post-legislative scrutiny. In respect of certain Acts, specific provision for post-legislative scrutiny is included within the terms of the Act (for example the Pensions Act 2007). The Government expects to be responding shortly to the recommendations of the Law Commission, in its 2006 Report on Post-Legislative Scrutiny (Cm 6945), relating to a more systematic approach to post-legislative scrutiny.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Leader of the House which local authorities have promoted private Bills to regulate the street trading activities of pedlars in each year since 1997; and what private bills including such regulation have been enacted since 1997. 
Helen Goodman: The following is a list of private Acts which have been considered by Parliament since 1997. This includes two local authority Bills currently before Parliament and a further four new private Bills which have been deposited.
City of Westminster Act 1999 c.i
City of Newcastle upon Tyne Act 2000 c.viii
Medway Council Act 2004 c.v
London Local Authorities Act 2004 c.i
Leicester City Council Act 2006 c.ii
Liverpool City Council Act 2006 c.iii
Maidstone Borough Council Act 2006 c.iv
Canterbury City Council Bill
Leeds City Council Bill
Nottingham City Council Bill
Reading Borough Council Bill
Bournemouth Borough Council Bill (First Reading 22.1.2007)
Manchester City Council Bill (First Reading 22.1.2007)
Equivalent public legislation applies to Northern Ireland: Street Trading Act (Northern Ireland) Act 2001 c.8
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much has been spent by his Department (a) in total and (b) on staff costs on promoting equality and diversity in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and how many people are employed by his Department for this purpose. 
The Wales Office has one diversity and equality co-ordinator and a diversity and equality champion on our management board. Being a small office this role is covered on a voluntary basis in addition to a full-time Wales Office post. Wales Office staff and managers are also able to access help and support on diversity matters from the Ministry of Justice.
The Prime Minister: My Office received approximately 500,000 items of post during the 2006-07 parliamentary session, including a number of campaign cards and letters, and over 3,100 items of correspondence from MPs and peers.
For information for the parliamentary sessions 2004-05 and 2005-06 I refer the hon. Member to the answers given by my predecessor (right hon. Tony Blair) on 21 July 2005, Official Report, columns 1935-36W and 15 January 2007, Official Report, columns 785-86W. Information for previous sessions is not available in the format requested.
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