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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will list for 199798 and each subsequent financial year the amount spent by (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies in respect of hotel and other similar privately-provided accommodation (i) in the UK and (ii) abroad for (A) Ministers, (B) staff and (C) other persons; if she will list the proportion of this cost incurred in respect of (x) food and (y) alcohol in each case; and if she will list the average cost per hotel room or similar unit of accommodation provided in each case. 
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 11 February 2002]: In my own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, the following sums were spent on hotels and other similar privately provided accommodation in 199798 and subsequent financial years.
The accounting system used by the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers does not divide these costs to show the amounts spent on hotels, food and alcohol. It would not be possible to provide details on the cost of hotels without incurring disproportionate cost.
£290,000 in 199899
£395,000 in 19992000
£623,000 in 200001.
The CPS also reimburses prosecution witnesses who have to stay overnight in order to give evidence at court. The rates applied to such reimbursement are the same as the rates applied to staff expenditure. Expenditure since 199798 has been as follows:
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It is not possible to list the average cost per hotel room. From November 1999 new maximum rates were applied to the cost of bed and breakfast of up to £95 per night in London and other metropolitan areas and £65 per night elsewhere.
The marked increase in staff expenditure in 200001 compared with the previous years was a result of the aftermath of the Hatfield rail crash and the consequent disruption to public transport. Because of the extended journey times, particularly between the two headquarters' sites in London and York, officers were required to stay overnight more frequently.
The total amounts spent on both travel and subsistence by the Treasury Solicitor's Department, HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (since April 2001) and the Government Property Lawyers' Agency in the last four years were as follows:
The contract management and financial analysis systems currently in place at the Treasury Solicitor's Department mean that the Department could not provide the detailed information requested without incurring disproportionate cost. These systems are being upgraded as part of the improvement in financial management on which the Department has embarked. Most of the improvements should be concluded in the course of the financial year 200203.
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Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Solicitor-General, pursuant to her answer of 23 January 2002, Official Report, column 878W, on stolen equipment, what criminal proceedings have been undertaken for cases of theft against her Department, stating in each case (a) whether the proceedings (i) led to a criminal conviction and (ii) were unsuccessful, (b) the cost incurred by her Department in pursuing a conviction and (c) the value of items recovered; and if she will make a statement. 
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 18 March 2002]: In relation to my own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, I am not aware of any equipment having been stolen from the Department since 1 May 1997.
Crown Prosecution Service Since May 1997 no criminal proceedings have been brought by the Crown Prosecution Service in connection with the stolen equipment listed in reply to Mr. Menzies Campbell's question. No items have been recovered.
Treasury Solicitor's Department No criminal proceedings were undertaken in any of the cases of theft against the Department detailed in response to Mr. Menzies Campbell's question, and no items were recovered. Three of the thefts were reported to the police, and the remainder were investigated internally. The internal investigations did not identify any individuals against whom proceedings could be taken, and the stolen items could not be traced.
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Serious Fraud Office
The Solicitor-General [holding answer 14 March 2002]: In my own Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers all staff are on secondment from other Departments. Matters relating to parental leave are dealt with by their parent Departments.
With effect from 1 April 1998, the Crown Prosecution Service's policy on special leave was amended to allow three months parental leave on the grounds of the birth or adoption of a child to all staff who have been employed by the Department for 12 months or longer. This entitlement is available for each child, and can be taken before the child's 8th birthday. In relation to adoption, the leave can ben taken up to eight years after the child is first placed with the family for adoption, or until the child's 18th birthday if that is sooner.
It is known that during the period from 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001, 11 members of staff took paternity leave, which amounted to approximately 120 days absence. However, the grades of the staff taking paternity leave were not recorded and therefore the Department cannot give an estimated cost for that period.
The Treasury Solicitor's Department estimate that there will not be a material financial cost to the Department as a result of the Parental Leave Directive. The cost to the Treasury Solicitor's Department since December 1999 has been £3,083.85.
The Serious Fraud Office has yet to receive an application for parental leave from any of its staff. However, the Department considers the financial implication of granting parental leave to be minimal, as the leave is unpaid.
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the Department, (ii) to improve recruitment and retention, (iii) to promote Government policies and (iv) to comply with legislation.
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