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Mr. Straw: No estimate of costs over that period have been made. Forecasts of actual costs of pension benefits payable and lump sums based on current assumptions of inflation and salary costs for the next five years are shown in the following table.
|Salary costs (£)|
|Forecast of costings (£)|
|Current service cost||Interest cost|
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many legal aid awards were made available to defendants with incomes of over (a) £50,000 and (b) £100,000 per annum in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Straw: In 2008-09, two defendants in the magistrates courts with earnings over £50,000 and one defendant with earnings over £100,000 were awarded legal aid. All three were awarded under hardship review which provides a safety net for those with high incomes who are genuinely unable to pay their defence costs. In most circumstances applicants with an income in excess of £22,325 will not be granted legal aid in the magistrates courts.
The Legal Services Commission is unable to answer the question in respect of defendants in the Crown court. In the Crown court, provided applicants pass the Interests of Justice test, they are currently entitled to legal aid regardless of income, and since no income test is applied to applicants, it is not known how many applicants (defendants) have incomes in excess of £50,000
or £100,000. However, we will be introducing means testing in Crown courts from January 2010 and rolling it out across England and Wales by June 2010.
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to page 78 of the Legal Services Commission's Annual Report 2008-09, what the expenditure was which was reported as miscellaneous; and if he will make a statement. 
In 2007-08, the miscellaneous expenditure reported on page 78 of the annual report was £460,000. The vast majority of this (£457,000) related to an exercise carried out to catch up on certain payments to solicitors which should have been made but had not. These payments were against costs orders, awarded by the judge at the end of a case, which included costs incurred prior to the grant of legal aid. These costs are only payable when recovered from the opponent of the legally aided person.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what percentage of people aged (a) under 16, (b) between 16 and 18 and (c) over 18 years old who were convicted of possession of a knife in 2007 received a fine; and what the (i) average, (ii) smallest and (iii) largest such fine was in that year. 
|Table 1: Offences involving the possession of a knife or offensive weapon resulting in a fine( 1,2) by offender age group, England and Wales, 2007|
|Age band||Number of offences receiving a fine||Total number of offences receiving a caution or a sentence||Percentage offences receiving a fine|
|(1) As recorded by the police on the police national computer.|
(2) The figures are a count of offences rather than offenders. Where an offender has been sentenced for several possession offences each sentence has been counted.
(3) Adults are classed as offenders aged 18 and over, juveniles are those aged 10-17.
* Indicates that one or more of the comparative numbers are less than 50. For small numbers this could give misleading percentage changes.
|Table 2: Minimum, maximum and average fine amounts( 1) for the possession of a knife or offensive weapon, England and Wales, 2007|
|(1) As recorded by the police on the police national computer.|
(2) There were six offences that were given a fine but without a recorded fine amount, these were removed from the average.
These figures have been drawn from the police's administrative IT system, the police national computer (PNC), which, as with any large scale recording system, is subject to possible errors with data entry and processing. The figures are provisional and subject to change as more information is recorded by the police.
PNC data have been used here rather than court data, which is the usual source of published sentencing statistics. The PNC data provide more up to date figures ahead of the finalised annual court data and was used for the Ministry of Justice's publication 'Knife Crime Sentencing: Quarterly Brief' published on 12 March 2009 and available from:
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department has been invoiced by each police force in respect of costs incurred under Operation Safeguard in each month of 2009; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether an impact assessment, including a small firms impact assessment, will be made in relation to the new provisions in the Political Parties and Elections Bill on non-resident donors. 
Mr. Straw: Impact assessments for all substantive provisions in the Political Parties and Elections Bill, including the new provisions requiring a declaration as to taxation status of individual donors, will be published at Royal Assent. The new provisions relating to taxation status relate only to donations made by individuals and do not impose or reduce costs on business. There is thus no requirement for a small firms impact assessment to be conducted in relation to these provisions.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his timetable is for consultation with other political parties on the scope for further amendments to the provisions in the Political Parties and Elections Bill on non-resident donors. 
Mr. Straw: The Government have circulated revised versions of the amendments to the taxation status provisions in the Political Parties and Elections Bill to Opposition spokespeople and others with an interest ahead of further parliamentary consideration.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the provisions of the Political Parties and Elections Bill on non-resident donors will place restrictions on overseas residents campaigning in UK elections. 
The amendments tabled by the Government to the Political Parties and Elections Bill on taxation status will restrict donations above £7,500 in a calendar
year from an individual who is not resident, ordinarily resident and domiciled in the United Kingdom for income tax purposes.
"the provision by any individual of his own services which he provides voluntarily in his own time and free of charge"
should not be regarded as a donation. Therefore a non-resident individual who campaigns on behalf of a party voluntarily, in his own free time and free of charge would not be required to be resident, ordinarily resident and domiciled in the United Kingdom for income tax purposes.
"the provision otherwise than on commercial terms of any property, services or facilities for the use or benefit of the party (including the services of any person)"
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of implementing the recommendation on introducing tax relief for small donations to political parties made in the Sixth Report of the Committee for Standards in Public Life. 
Mr. Wills: The Fifth Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL), entitled "The Funding of Political Parties in the United Kingdom", recommended that tax relief should be introduced on donations to political parties, capped at a level of £500 per donor per year.
"Tax relief would amount to general state aid by another route. A tax-relief scheme would be expensive for the Inland Revenue and political parties to administer relative to the likely level of take-up. Furthermore, the Government has to balance the loss of revenue (likely to be upwards of £4 or £5 million a year against other spending priorities."
(The funding of political parties in the United Kingdom: The Government's proposals for legislation in response to the Fifth Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, page 33, paragraph 6.3).
The Government have not made any further estimate of the likely cost of introducing tax relief for small donations to political parties. Under the legislative framework set out in the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, recipients of donations are not required to record details of any donations received below the level of £200. It is therefore difficult to know with any accuracy how many such donations occur in a given year and thus what the cost of providing tax relief on such donations would be likely to be.
Escapes from prison have been falling for over a decade and 2008-09 saw the lowest level of prison escapes since centralised recording of these incidents
began. The data in the table show the number of prisoners who have escaped from prisons in England and Wales in each of the last 12 years and those who remain unlawfully at large. Figures on prisoners unlawfully at large following an escape are not available centrally before this period and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
|Escapes of prisoners by year from prisons in England and Wales showing those remaining unlawfully at large|
|Escaped prisoners||Offender remaining at large|
| Notes: 1. There has not been an escape of a category A prisoner since 1995. 2. Figures on those unlawfully at large following an escape are not available centrally prior to 1997 and could not be provided without incurring disproportionate cost. 3. These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.|
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