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Census (1901)

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when work started on transcribing the 1901 Census returns on to computer. [38540]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Work commenced on transcription in March 2000.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what his latest estimate is of the date when the 1901 Census on-line service will become available (a) at designated service centres and (b) generally to on-line searchers. [38555]

Ms Rosie Winterton: QinetiQ Ltd. is continuing to work on the technical enhancements. Rigorous testing will be completed during the next few weeks. These enhancements are intended to make the site sufficiently robust to permit general Internet access, and are being done with a sense of urgency. However, the most important consideration is to ensure that the service is re-launched successfully. The system will again be made available to designate service centres as part of the general re-introduction of the site. General on-line searches will be available as soon as practicable following testing.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many people were employed to check the transcriptions onto computer of the 1901 Census returns. [38544]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: At the peak of quality assuring the data, some 68 full time equivalent individuals were employed by the Public Record Office.

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what criteria were used to select the people who were employed to check the transcriptions onto computer of the 1901 Census returns. [38548]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The individuals employed by the Public Record Office to quality assure the 1901 Census transcribed data were required to undertake and pass a transcription test in reading late-nineteenth century handwriting.

Magistrates Courts

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on his Department's policy on the number of magistrates' courts. [40384]

Mr. Wills: The Government's policy is that decisions on the number and location of magistrates courts in England and Wales are for the individual magistrates courts committees to determine, in consultation with their local paying authorities.

It is for each magistrates court committee to decide how best to deploy its resources in order to fulfil its statutory responsibility to provide an efficient and effective service to court users.

EU Directives

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the European Union directives and regulations relating to her Department that have been implemented in each of the last four years, specifying (a) the title and purpose of each, (b) the cost to public funds of each and (c) the cost to businesses of each. [39124]

Mr. Wills: No directives or regulations relating to the Lord Chancellor's Department came into effect in 1998 or 1999. The information for the following years is set out in the table. The costs to public funds given do not take account of officials' time, which is not readily quantifiable.

TitlePurposeCost to public fundsCost to business
2000
Directive 98/5/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 1998To facilitate the practice of the profession of lawyer on a permanent basis in a member state of the European Community other than the state in which the qualification was obtainedNegligibleNegligible; if anything businesses gained as a result of easier access to European markets
2001
Council Regulation (EC) No. 1347/2000 of 2 May 2000To establish rules relating to jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and in matters of parental responsibility for children of both spouses£3,500 for the production of forms and leafletsNegligible
Council regulation (EC) No. 1348/2000 of 29 May 2000To establish common rules throughout the EU for the transmission of legal documents in cross-border civil and commercial mattersNegligibleNegligible, since the scheme replaced bilateral agreements and a Hague Convention
2002
Council Regulation (EC) No. 44/2001 of 22 December 2000 To establish updated rules relating to jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial mattersNegligibleNegligible

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NORTHERN IRELAND

Departmental Spending Review

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans his Department has to appraise the environmental implications of its Spending Review submission to the Treasury. [29031]

Dr. John Reid: As part of my Department's Spending Review submission to the Treasury, we will, in common with other Departments, report on the sustainable development of our bids which will detail any environmental impact.

Environmental Appraisals

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many environmental appraisals have been published by his Department since 1 January 2001; and if he will list the last four. [29028]

Dr. John Reid: The work of the Northern Ireland Office only rarely if ever has a direct impact on the environment.

It is normal practice in the Department for the implications of administrative and policy decisions to be analysed rigorously prior to any decision being taken. If environmental considerations emerged, appropriate appraisals would be conducted.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) when the last occasion was on which he requested an environmental appraisal before making a policy decision; [29029]

Dr. John Reid: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave for question ref. 29028.

Empty Properties

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his estimate is of the (a) annual cost and (b) total value of the empty properties owned by (i) his Department, (ii) his agencies and (iii) other public bodies for which he has had responsibility in each of the last four years. [30076]

Dr. John Reid: The NIO currently owns no properties that are empty, therefore there are no related costs.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the total area in square feet of all empty properties owned by (a) his Department, (b) his agencies and (c) other public bodies for which he has had responsibility was in each year since May 1997. [37812]

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Dr. John Reid: My Department does not own any properties which are currently empty.

Refurbishment

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost of refurbishing each ministerial private office was in each year since May 1997. [37823]

Dr. John Reid: The only work carried out to ministerial private offices has been as a result of moving to different buildings, for operational purposes. The cost of these works cannot be separated from the overall cost of all the works associated with these relocations.

Defence Lawyers

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what dates training seminars on the role of defence lawyers have been held for individual criminal justice agencies; what the programme was and how many people attended each seminar; if he will place a copy of training materials used in the Library; and what plans he has for future events of this kind. [29782]

Mr. Browne: Individual criminal justice agencies will be responsible for developing training seminars on the role of defence lawyers, working with the Law Society, which has welcomed the recommendation in the Criminal Justice Review and confirmed a willingness, wherever practical, to contribute constructively to its implementation.

Firearms

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the objections are of the Chief Constable to the application in Northern Ireland of section 39 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 requiring the establishment of a register of persons who have applied for and been granted a licence to carry a firearm. [29940]

Jane Kennedy: The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 is not applicable to Northern Ireland. However, information on all firearms certificate holders is currently held on a Police Service of Northern Ireland computer system.


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