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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 26 March 2002

NORTHERN IRELAND

Saville Inquiry

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the cost of the Saville Inquiry to his Department has been to date; and what his current estimate is of the final cost of the whole inquiry. [46024]

Mr. Browne: The cost of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry to the Northern Ireland Office, as at 22 March 2002, is #56.8 million. The current estimated cost of the Inquiry to the Northern Ireland Office is #120 million.

The #20 million increase as compared with the figure given on 17 December 2001, Official Report, column 40W, is accounted for by two factors. First, an estimated #15 million of net additional costs arises from the transfer of the hearings to London this September. Secondly, the Senior Costs Judge's judgment of 21 March implies additional expenditure of, on best current estimates, around #5 million on solicitors for the families; expenditure on costs arising from this case is expected to run into several hundreds of thousands of pounds.

If my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's challenge to the Senior Costs Judge's ruling on payments to counsel for the families is unsuccessful, that will add an estimated sum of at least #6 million to the estimated #120 million cost.

These figures do not include costs to other Departments such as the Ministry of Defence.

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects Lord Saville to report his findings. [46023]

Mr. Browne: Publication of the report is a matter for the independent Tribunal. Based on my current understanding of the Inquiry's future timetable, I do not expect the Tribunal to publish its report before 2004.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland further to his answer of 26 February 2002, Official Report, column 757W, on the Saville Inquiry, how much public funding has been provided to the legal representatives of other parties represented at the Saville Inquiry, broken down by each (a) barrister and (b) firm of solicitors involved. [41239]

Mr. Browne: The answer of 26 February set out the amount of public funding that has been provided to the legal representatives of the families and the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA). The majority of the other parties represented at the Inquiry have their legal costs met through the Ministry of

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Defence. The public funding made available to these parties is therefore a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.

The Tribunal has allowed certain persons limited legal representation during the course of the hearings. The costs of this representation are paid by the Inquiry. In addition a large number of witnesses have received legal assistance at the statement-taking stage and have had the costs of this met by the Inquiry. The cost of this assistance and representation therefore falls to my Department.

Much of the assistance to witnesses has been provided by solicitors to the families: insofar as it has been, the costs are included in the payments to the solicitors concerned shown in the parliamentary answer of 26 February 2002, Official Report, column 757W. However, a large number of other lawyers from across the United Kingdom and beyond have also been involved in providing assistance to individual witnesses or representing those additional persons referred to above. Given the numbers of lawyers involved it is taking a little time to compute the amounts paid to the individual teams. I will undertake to write to my hon. Friend with this information as soon as possible. A copy of the letter will be placed in the House Library.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Arthur Andersen

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the total cost to her Department has been of services provided by (a) Andersen and (b) Accenture, Andersen Consulting for (i) accountancy services, (ii) consultancy work and (iii) other work in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [32107]

Ms Hewitt: The total costs of contracts awarded by year are set out below.

CompanyServiceYear#
Andersen Consulting (later Accenture)Consultancy199910,000
Arthur AndersenConsultancy2000594,000
Consultancy2001213,000
Accountancy20014,100,000

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much work from her Department has been given to Andersen Consulting formally known as Arthur Andersen in each year since 1992. [46221]

Ms Hewitt: Contracts agreed with Andersen Consulting were listed in my reply to my Friend the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) on 11 February 2002, Official Report, column 61W. Information on contracts for the five years prior to May 1997 is not centrally available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Events

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will list the (a) conferences, (b) seminars, (c) workshops, (d) exhibitions and

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(e) press conferences which have been sponsored by her Department and which took place on non-departmental premises in each of the last four years giving the title, purpose, date and cost of each. [34300]

Ms Hewitt: My Department uses the mechanisms that are the most appropriate and effective in communicating with specific audiences, including all those listed in the question. Some of these events are held on Departmental premises and others at different venues. But no central records are kept that would enable the information requested to be supplied, and it could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Publicity Expenditure

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the total real terms expenditure of her Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies on publicity in each of the years (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99, (c) 1999–2000, (d) 2000–01 and (e) 2001–02 (i) to date and (ii) as estimated for the whole of the present year; and if she will break these figures down to indicate expenditure on (A) advertising and (B) press and public relations. [36157]

Ms Hewitt: This information is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Insolvency Service

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many warning letters were issued as a result of investigations by the Insolvency Service in each year since 1997. [42071]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The number of warning letters issued were as follows:


The numbers reflect better policy guidance provided to Official Receivers in 1997–98, who have focused investigatory resources on the more serious offences and director disqualification, both of which lead to court hearings and convictions rather than resulting in warning letters.

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what checks are in place to ensure an agreed high standard of correspondence is achieved when the Insolvency Service communicates with customers. [42068]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Insolvency Service's target for replying to correspondence is published in the Annual Report and in leaflets that are available from the Insolvency Service and can also be found on the website, www.insolvency.gsi.gov.uk.

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures are used by her Department to review the (a) performance and (b) efficiency of the Insolvency Service. [42084]

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Miss Melanie Johnson: A number of targets are set annually to measure the performance and efficiency of the Insolvency Service. They are published in the Annual Report, a copy of which is available in the Libraries of the House.

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many rogue directors have been reported on the Insolvency Service hotline since its inception; and how many of these (a) in total and (b) as a percentage of total calls have resulted in successful prosecutions. [42076]

Miss Melanie Johnson: By 28 February 2002, 2,978 calls had been received which generated 1,167 substantive complaints. The remaining complainants failed to provide the information requested in support of their complaints.

By that date, 31 related convictions had been obtained and a further 27 written warnings had been issued. 563 remain under investigation and 450 were not proceeded with due to insufficient evidence.


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