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Helen Jones: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many people from the Warrington, North constituency have been appointed to the magistracy in each year since 1997. [39453]

Mr. Wills: The figures sought are set out in the table. This year the Advisory Committee is looking to recommend five new appointments but no decisions have yet been made about who will be recommended. The Advisory Committee normally submits its recommendations in June or July.

Warrington, NorthWarrington, South

Non-Governmental Organisations

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will list non-governmental organisations operating in the south-west region that receive public funds from her Department; and what amount of annual funding they received in the most recent year for which figures are available. [39182]

Ms Rosie Winterton: Details of grants in aid funding provided directly to non-governmental organisations (i.e. those organisations operating in the charity/voluntary sector) are contained in my Department's annual appropriation accounts. The most recent accounts, those for the financial year 2000–01, were published on 20 February 2002 (HMSO). Overall grants in aid funding

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totalled £5,673,020, though as funding is often to the national office of the organisation concerned for distribution locally, details of funds received by those in the south-west region could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Funding is also provided to non- governmental organisations through NDPBs sponsored by my Department.

Special Urgency Provisions

Mr. Luff: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how often the Department has applied the special urgency provisions in paragraph 22 of Circular 18/84 (Development by Government Departments) to a development by the Department; and if he will make a statement. [38717]

Mr. Wills: The Lord Chancellor's Department has never made an application to use the special urgency provisions in paragraph 22 of Circular 18/84 (Development by Government Departments).

Auld Report

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what representations he has received from and on behalf of magistrates (a) nationally and (b) by region regarding the Auld report; and if he will make a statement on the areas on which most comments focus. [38254]

Mr. Wills: We have received over 400 responses. On behalf of magistrates: (a) nationally, we have received responses from: Central Council of Magistrates Courts Committees, HM Council of District Judges (Magistrates Courts) and the Magistrates Association; (b) by region, we have received representations from magistrates in 37 of the 42 Magistrates Courts Committee areas. These focus on the establishment of a unified criminal court, and the proposal for an intermediate tier. Representations on all the recommendations in Sir Robin Auld's report are now being carefully considered and analysed in detail. The Government will announce their conclusions by way of a White Paper in the spring.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what has been done to explain the implications of the Auld report's recommendations to magistrates in the Teesside area. [38255]

Mr. Wills: In October 2001 copies of the Auld report were sent to all Justices Chief Executives, to distribute to chairmen of magistrates benches in their Magistrates Courts Committee (MCC) areas. The representative organisations for district judges (Magistrates Courts) and lay magistrates also received copies. On 28 November 2001, a ministerial "roadshow" was held in Newcastle and magistrates from the Cleveland MCC area, which covers Teesside, attended. Written representations have been received from the Cleveland MCC and the Teesside Magistrates' Bench.

Retrospective Legislation

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on the Government's policy on the introduction of retrospective legislation. [38121]

The Solicitor-General: I have been asked to reply.

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The Government's policy before introducing a legislative provision having retrospective effect is to balance the conflicting public interests and to consider whether the general public interest in the law not being changed retrospectively may be outweighed by any competing public interest. In making this assessment the Government will have regard to relevant international standards including those of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which was incorporated into United Kingdom law by the Human Rights Act 1998.


Benefits (Epsom and Ewell)

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in the Epsom and Ewell constituency receive housing benefit. [23430]

Malcolm Wicks: The available information is in the table.

Housing benefit recipients in August 2001

Epsom and Ewell borough council1,790
Mole Valley borough council2,540


1. The data refer to households which may be a family, a couple, or a single person.

2. The figures have been rounded to the nearest 10 cases.

3. Epsom and Ewell parliamentary constituency is covered in part by Epsom and Ewell and Mole Valley local authority areas. Figures are not therefore representative of the constituency area.


Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Quarterly 100 per cent. caseload count—August 2001.

Pension Credit

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate by how much it would be possible to raise the basic state pension for the over-75s, on a revenue neutral basis, and taking account of offsetting savings in expenditure on means-tested benefits and enhanced income tax revenue, if he were not to introduce the pension credit and were instead to spend the money on the state pension for the over-75s. [27687]

Mr. McCartney: Diverting £2 billion away from the state pension credit to increasing the basic state pension (BSP) for the over-75s would mean standard rate BSP could rise from £72.50 to £87.55 per week for the over-75s. Approximately 75 per cent. of pensioners aged 75 and over who were previously entitled to the minimum income guarantee would remain on the means tested benefits (MIG) if BSP was increased to £87.55 and because this is lower than the current MIG level they would be no better off.

Also, millions of pensioners living on low or moderate incomes, who struggled to put money aside for their retirement, would find themselves little or no better off than people who had saved nothing. Over 4 million pensioners would no longer receive a reward for any savings that lifted their incomes above the minimum income guarantee. In addition, the upper capital limit of £12,000 and the assumed rate of return of £1 in every

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£250 would be retained. By introducing pension credit we will tackle poverty among today's pensioners, while not discouraging future pensioners from saving.

Benefits (Yorkshire)

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claimed incapacity benefit in the York and North Yorkshire area in (a) 1997, (b) 1999, (c) 2000 and (d) 2001. [28197]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The available information is in the table.

Number of people claiming incapacity benefit in York and North Yorkshire local authority areas

YorkNorth Yorkshire(16)
31 August 19974,70014,300
31 August 19994,50014,000
31 August 20004,80013,900
31 August 20014,80014,700

(16) North Yorkshire includes Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby.


Figures are rounded to the nearest 100.


Figures are taken from a 5 per cent. sample of the incapacity benefit computer system and exclude a small number of cases held clerically.


Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the basis was for the reference in his Department's recent Targeting Fraud advertisements to the number caught by fraud investigators; and if he will estimate how many of that number were successfully prosecuted. [30372]

Malcolm Wicks: The figures in the Targeting Fraud advertisements were derived from successful prosecutions data. Since the advertisements were made we have improved the data sources used to compile this information. Over 9,000 people were successfully prosecuted in 1999/2000 and over 11,000 in 2002–02. We shall amend the radio advertisements in the final stage of the campaign in March to reflect the new figures.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases of benefit fraud were recorded in each of the past five years in (a) Wales, (b) England and (c) Scotland. [32270]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is not available in the format requested.

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