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14 Dec 2009 : Column 859Wcontinued
As I explained to my hon. Friend in the answer I gave him on 24 June 2009, Official Report, columns 897-98W, all aspects of tax credits are kept under review, with any decisions made as part of the Budget process.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Solicitor-General how many Christmas trees were purchased by the Law Officers' Departments in each of the last five years; what the cost was of those trees in each year; from where the trees were sourced; what account was taken of the sustainability of the sources of the trees; and by what process the trees were disposed of. 
The Solicitor-General: Where available, details on the purchases and polices of each Law Officers' Department are outlined as follows. In general where Christmas trees have been purchased attempts have been made to source and dispose of them in a sustainable way, as well as to keep costs to a minimum.
The Attorney-General's Office has purchased four Christmas trees during the last five years at a total cost of £409.60. This year due to cost cutting measures no tree has been purchased.
All the trees were purchased from suppliers who only buy trees from accredited sustainable sources. All the trees were recycled, ending up as wood chips for bridle paths or fertiliser. The exact breakdown of costs on a yearly basis is as follows;
The Serious Fraud Office has purchased the following Christmas trees over the last five years:
|Number||£ (inc. VAT)|
|(1) Estimated figure|
From 2005 to 2007 the Christmas trees purchased from "Christmas Tree Land" were grown on plantations and harvested like any other sustainable crop. The trees were disposed of via Camden Council's Christmas tree collection service. In 2008 the artificial tree was collected by Phs Greenleaf at the end of the hire period for reuse. In 2009 the 'Real' Tree from Phs Greenleaf was from a sustainable tree farm and will be collected by Phs, Gunnersbury branch, who dispose of trees via the local council who then use the chippings on pathways and nature trails throughout the borough.
HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) purchases a maximum of one tree per annum which is situated in its reception area. HMCPSI does not record such costs separately from other general accommodation costs and is therefore unable to provide information in respect of past years. However, the amount spent in December 2009 was £39 and this is believed to be the highest amount.
Records are not kept on from where the trees were sourced, what account was taken of the sustainability of the sources of the trees and by what process the trees were disposed. Where possible and practicable all waste is recycled usually through its local authority.
Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office has made no purchases of "real" Christmas trees during each of the last five years. It did however purchase three artificial Christmas trees in November 2005, at a total cost of £300, all of which are still in use.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not keep central records of the number, cost, provenance or disposal arrangements in relation to Christmas trees and could provide this information only at a disproportionate cost.
The Treasury Solicitor's Department and the National Fraud Authority have not purchased any Christmas trees during the last five years.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Solicitor-General how many and what proportion of cases which went to a contested trial resulted in convictions in each of the last five years. 
The Solicitor-General: The following table shows the number of defendants whose case resulted in conviction or in an unsuccessful outcome after a contested hearing in each of the last five years.
|Convicted after trial||Percentage||Dismissed||Percentage||Total contests|
|Convicted after trial||Percentage||Acquitted||Percentage||Total contests|
|(1) Full implementation of the electronic Compass Case Management System in 2004 led to appreciable improvements in the quality and consistency of the data. Figures for 2004-05 are not directly comparable with the improved information recorded subsequently.|
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Solicitor-General how much has been allocated in the Crown Prosecution Service budgets for (a) London and (b) each of its 42 regional offices for the employment of agency staff in each of the last three years. 
The Solicitor-General: The following table indicates the budgets allocated for the employment of agency staff by the Crown Prosecution Service for London and each of its 42 operational areas in each of the last three years.
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