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Internet Sites

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her policy is on requiring internet service providers to remove access to sites that promote graffiti writing. [36240]

Mr. Alexander: I have been asked to reply.

There is no requirement on internet service providers to remove access to such sites, although they remove illegal material of which they become aware, (such as child pornography), from sites they are hosting.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Accountancy Services

Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council what the total cost to his Department was for accountancy services in each of the last four years. [34164]

Mr. Robin Cook: The available information is:


The additional information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mobile Telephones

Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council if he will list, for 1997–98 and for each subsequent financial year, the amount spent (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) abroad by (i) his Department, (ii) its agencies and (iii) its non-departmental public bodies on (1) providing mobile telephone equipment, including handsets and other associated equipment, (2) telephone calls made using such equipment and (3) telephone calls made using privately owned mobile telephones but subsequently reclaimed by (x) Ministers and (y) staff. [34393]

Mr. Robin Cook: My Department spent a total of £5,589 on these items in financial year 2000–01. The more detailed information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

E-democracy

Margaret Moran: To ask the President of the Council what consultation he intends to undertake in introducing e-democracy to Parliament. [34745]

Mr. Robin Cook: The memorandum I presented to the Modernisation Committee before Christmas set out my desire to improve the way in which new technologies are used at Westminster. I welcome views from all Members on how we might better utilise Information and Communications Technologies in the House of Commons.

In addition, the Government will publish later this year a consultation paper on e-democracy and online consultation. We hope that this will inform the use of new technologies in Parliament and we will be seeking views from the public and Members of Parliament, including via e-mail, in response to that document.

26 Feb 2002 : Column 1113W

Consultants

Mr. Bercow: To ask the President of the Council what the total cost to his Department was of the use of external consultants in each of the last four years. [35021]

Mr. Robin Cook: The available information is as follows:


Additional information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

SOLICITOR-GENERAL

Departmental Expenditure Limits

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Solicitor-General what plans there are to change the Attorney-General's Department's (a) departmental expenditure limit and (b) administration costs limit for 2001–02. [38770]

The Solicitor-General: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimates, the Attorney-General's Departments DEL will be increased by £8,681,000 from £451,563,000 to £460,244,000 and the administration costs limits will be increased by £7,731,000 from £322,103,000 to £329,834,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are set out in the following table:

£000
Resources
Change6,362
New DEL436,276
of which:
Voted426,276
Non-voted10,000
Capital
Change2,319
New DEL23,968
Of which:
Voted23,968
Non-voted

The Crown Prosecution Service's DEL will be increased by £8,286,000 from £414,893,000 to £423,179,000 and the administration costs limit will be increased by £7,267,000 from £296,974,000 to £304,241,000. The increase in the resource element of the DEL arises from speeding up the reform of the CPS to allow it to contribute fully to criminal justice targets, implementation of extended court sitting hours and the provision of resources for the CPS prosecutor recovered assets training project. The decrease in DEL arises from the transfer of £120,000 to the Home Office in respect of the CPS's contribution to CJIU. The change in the capital element of the DEL arises from the take up of £2,000,000 of end year flexibility entitlement and a transfer of resources from the Home Office to support the video recording of police interviews. The decrease in capital arises from the return to the Home Office of £150,000 of Capital Modernisation Fund resources.

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HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor's Department DEL will be decreased by £105,000 from £15,745,000 to £15,640,000 and the administration costs limits will be decreased by £36,000 from £10,629,000 to £10,593,000. The decrease in the resource element of the DEL is the net effect of a transfer of £106,000 to clients whose work will become chargeable in the current financial year. The decreases in HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor's Department DEL will be effected by a £1,000 Token Supplementary Estimate.

The Serious Fraud Office's DEL will be increased by £500,000 from £20,925,000 to £21,425,000 and the administration costs limit will be increased by £500,000 from £14,415,000 to £14,915,000. The increase in the resource element of the DEL arises from development of the Docman information support system and funding of early retirements in support of restructuring of the Serious Fraud Office to enable it to contribute fully to criminal justice targets.

The increases will be entirely met by a transfer from the Criminal Justice System reserve, transfers from the Home Office and take up of capital end year flexibility entitlement.

The additional expenditure will not add to the planned total of public expenditure.

Mobile Telephones

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will list, for 1997–98 and for each subsequent financial year, the amount spent (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) abroad by (i) her Department, (ii) its agencies and (iii) its non-departmental public bodies on (1) providing mobile telephone equipment, including handsets and other associated equipment, (2) telephone calls made using such equipment and (3) telephone calls made using privately owned mobile telephones but subsequently reclaimed by (x) Ministers and (y) staff. [34408]

The Solicitor-General [holding answer 11 February 2002]: The expenditure by my own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, is as follows:

£
1997–982,667.82
1998–993,213.09
1999–20002,843.69
2000–012,419.43

Current records do not distinguish the cost of calls made in the United Kingdom and abroad but the latter cost would be de minimis. Current records do not distinguish the cost of equipment and the cost of calls. There is no separate coding for reimbursement of costs of calls made from privately owned equipment but such expenditure would be de minimis.The Crown Prosecution Service has only provided mobile telephones and other associated equipment to its staff in the United Kingdom. The amount spent for 1997–98 and each subsequent financial year is:

£

EquipmentTelephone calls
1997–98
1998–991,000
1999–200096,0009,000
2000–0138,00030,000

Reclaimed costs for calls made on privately owned mobile telephones are not recorded separately.


26 Feb 2002 : Column 1115W

The expenditure on mobile telephone equipment and calls by the Treasury Solicitor's Department and Government property lawyers was as follows:

£

TSDGPL
1997–989,605.33
1998–998,443.212,069.28
1999–20009,513.81720.04
2000–0111,818.4114.06

Current records do not distinguish the cost of equipment and the cost of calls. There is no separate coding for reimbursement of costs of calls made from privately owned equipment but such expenditure would be de minimis.

No equipment was purchased abroad but the figures given may include call charges incurred abroad.

The Serious Fraud Office makes available mobile telephone equipment for business use on a loan and permanent allocation basis to SFO staff. Financial information is available on the amounts spent providing this service but not to the level of detail requested. This would be available only at disproportionate cost.

£

EquipmentCalls
1997–989,258.372,611.92
1998–993,652.42826.31
1999–20003,559.033,090.59
2000–013,352.453,889.07

Information on the split between the United Kingdom and abroad would be available only at disproportionate cost. Information about amounts reclaimed by staff, which is minimal, would be available only at disproportionate cost.


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