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Angela Eagle: The Government keep all tax rates and benefit payments under review as part of the Budget process. However, the pre-Budget report 2005 announced that winter fuel payments will be paid at their current levels for the rest of this Parliament.
Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library the guidance provided by HM Treasury to Departments on what should be included in their 2007 autumn performance reports. 
Mr. Fallon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the outcome was of the review of the 16 hour rule announced in paragraph 4.10 of the Parole Board Review 2004 document, Choice for Parents. 
Jane Kennedy: The Government considered the option of extending entitlement to the child care element of working tax credits as set out in pre-Budget report 2004. However, as the child care element is an integral part of the overall tax credits system, it would not be practical to have a shorter hours rule for certain claimants claiming certain elements.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the annual cost to the Exchequer of raising the level of trivial commutation to (a) £16,000, (b) £17,000, (c) £18,000, (d) £19,000, (e) £20,000, (f) £21,000, (g) £22,000, (h) £23,000, (i) £24,000, (j) £25,000, (k) £26,000, (l) £27,000, (m) £28,000, (n) £29,000, (o) £30,000, (p) £31,000, (q) £32,000, (r) £33,000, (s) £34,000 and (t) £35,000. 
Andy Burnham: The trivial commutation limit is currently £16,000 and will rise in stages to £18,000 in 2010. The cost of raising the trivial commutation limit would depend upon a number of behavioural factors, though independent research by the Pensions Policy Institute published in June 2007 suggests the cost to the Exchequer from significantly raising the current limits would most likely be very high. Figures from the ABI show that many annuitised pots are below the £16,000 ceiling for trivial commutation, which suggests the limits are already very generous.
At PBR 2006 the Government announced that HMRC would discuss with interested parties concerns raised regarding the administration costs of paying trivial commutation lump sums under current rules. The Government are exploring how the current rules impact on the interests of individual pensioners, pension savers, and pension providers and how they fit with its wider objectives of encouraging pension saving to provide people with an income in retirement.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the Government's policy is on the proposals in the London Local Authorities Bill to introduce a new additional plastic bags tax on shops in London. 
Angela Eagle: The Government pledged in the Waste Strategy for England 2007 to phase out free, single-use carrier bags. The Prime Minister made clear in his environment speech of 19 November that in the longer term it will be necessary to eliminate these bags altogether. The Government are actively considering how it can bring forward action that will enable single- use carrier bags to be phased out, but determining the right way forward needs careful consideration, including the need for compliance with E.U. law.
Maria Eagle: Special advisers are appointed under terms and conditions set out in the Model Contract and Code of Conduct for Special Advisers, copies of which are in the Library of the House. My Departments special advisers have informed the permanent secretary that they hold no outside appointments.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he will reply to the letter, dated 19 November, from the right hon. Member for Manchester Gorton, regarding Mr Kurm Shezad Butt. 
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he will reply to the letter of 29 November 2007 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr A. Anwar. 
Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much was spent by (a) the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) on external consultancy fees and (b) his Department on external consultancy fees related to NOMS in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Straw: Central collation of NOMS HQ costs started in February 2006, following its creation on 1 April 2005. The amount spent on consultants by NOMS during the period February 2006 to December 2007 is as follows:
It is not possible to provide details of Consultancy spend for NOMS by the wider Department, since such details were not collated centrally during this period. The cost, however, is likely to be negligible in the context of information provided in the table.
Nick Herbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many full-time equivalent staff are employed by (a) the National Offender Management Service, (b) the National Probation Service and (c) HM Prison Service. 
The last published figures were as at 31 December 2006 and showed that there were 21,370.98
full-time equivalent staff in post in the national probation service. Updated figures covering Quarter 4 2006-07 (1 January 2007 to 31 March 2007) and Quarter 1 2007-08 (1 April 2007 to 30 June 2007) are currently being validated and will be published shortly in issue 13 of the Workforce Information Report.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) under 18-year-olds and (b) over 18-year-olds were convicted of illegally carrying (i) knives and (ii) other weapons in each year since 1997, broken down by police authority area; and if he will make a statement. 
|N umber of defendants aged 10 to 17 who were convicted at all courts for illegally carrying offensive weapons excluding knives, in England and Wales by police force area for the years 1997 to 2006( 1, 2, 3)|
|Police force area||1997||1998||1999||2000||2001||2002||2003||2004||2005||2006|
|(1) These data are on the principal offence basis|
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(3) Staffordshire police force were only able to submit sample data for defendants proceeded against and convicted in the magistrates courts for the year 2000. Although sufficient to estimate higher orders of data, these data are not robust enough at a detailed level and have been excluded from the table.
Court proceedings database held by RDS Office for Criminal Justice ReformMinistry of Justice.
Cur reference: PQ 176295 (Table 3)
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