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Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the top 10 companies to which her Department contracted out their construction and refurbishment work in the last 12 months. 
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) national and (b) international awareness events her Department and its predecessors participated in since June 1997 in the form of (i) sponsorship, (ii) departmental attendance, (iii) similar departmental activities and (iv) a message of support. 
David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many days on average were lost per employee in her Department because of sickness, and how many officials retired early from her Department in each of the past 10 years. [R] 
(103) Department for Education and Employment
(104) Department for Education
(105) Employment Department Group
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Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the number of A-level students applying to medical schools in each of the last three years; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the impact of withdrawing social security benefits from adults unwilling to have their basic skills levels tested; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Cox: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many (a) men and (b) women from ethnic communities were appointed justice of the peace for magistrates courts covering the Greater London area during the last 12 months. 
Mr. Wills. In the last 12 months, 38 people (15 men and 23 women) from ethnic communities have been appointed as magistrates in the Greater London area out of a total of 145 new appointments; that is 26.2 per cent. of the total.
The Middlesex and Inner London Advisory Committees will take part in a scheme involving job shadowing, education and training to encourage people from ethnic minorities to apply for appointment. My noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor announced the scheme, which will be run with the help of Operation Black Vote, on 2 May and it will be launched shortly. Any assistance my hon. Friend can give to assist in the recruitment of people from ethnic minority backgrounds would also be welcome.
Mr. Wills: A figure of 2.61 per cent. for the average yield on index linked government stock for the three years up to 8 June 2001 was quoted in the Lord Chancellor's reasons for setting the discount rate for personal injury awards at 2.5 per cent. Those reasons were placed in the Library of this House when that decision was announced on 27 June 2001.
Since then some questions have been raised about that figure, and the Debt Management Office, an executive agency of HM Treasury, which supplied it, have been providing advice to the Lord Chancellor on the calculation
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performed. The Lord Chancellor is considering that advice. He proposes to make a further announcement as soon as possible and will lay his further reasons in the Library of the House during the recess.
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer of 27 June 2001, Official Report, column 115W, on the Damages Act 1996, what account was taken of the guidance provided by the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords in Wells v. Wells  1 AC 345. 
Mr. Wills: The Lord Chancellor's reasons for setting the discount rate for personal injury awards at 2.5 per cent. were laid in the Library of this House on 27 June 2001. In those reasons the Lord Chancellor made clear that the legal principle that guided him, which was confirmed in the judgment in Wells v. Wells (1999) 1AC 345, was that:
Mr. Garnier: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer of 27 June 2001, Official Report, column 115W, on the Damages Act 1996, what consultation was conducted with (a) HM Treasury and (b) the Government Actuary; on what date; and what the outcome was of the consultation. 
Mr. Wills: The consultation document "Damages: the Discount Rate and Alternatives to Lump Sum Payments" was sent to HM Treasury along with other interested parties when it was published in March 2000. HM Treasury responded to the paper on 31 May 2000. Subsequently particular questions about the market in index-linked government stock were addressed to HM Treasury on 13 February 2001 and a reply received on 23 February 2001. There were a number of subsequent exchanges on technical issues concerning index-linked government stock.
The Government Actuary's Department provided a report to the Lord Chancellor's Department in December 1998. This was used to inform the Lord Chancellor's consultation paper which was published in March 2000, a copy of which was sent to the Government Actuary. The Government Actuary made further comments in a letter of 26 October 2000.
The Debt Management Office, a Treasury executive agency, supplied the figure for the average yield of index-linked government stock for the three years to 8 June 2001 which was quoted in the Lord Chancellor's reasons for setting the discount rate at 2.5 per cent.
The Lord Chancellor also took account of views received in response to the consultation and further evidence obtained from external advisers in arriving at his decision, which was announced to this House in the
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answer referred to in the question. Copies of the Lord Chancellor's reasons were placed in the Libraries of both Houses on 27 June 2001.
Additionally, in both 200001 and 200102 Mediation UK received grants of £90,000, which were funded jointly by the Legal Services Commission, the Home Office, the Department of Health and the Treasury.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps she is taking to ensure that mediation services in England receive adequate funding to continue their work. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Publicly funded family mediation is available throughout England and Wales and mediation services receive remuneration for mediation work carried out under contract from the Legal Services Commission. Some funding has been provided for service start-up costs, and mediation services also receive income from private clients. Some mediation services also receive funding under local partnership agreements with the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. In addition, the Lord Chancellor's Department funded an advertising campaign in January this year to help raise awareness of family mediation.
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